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Quick Uptakes
November 25, 1998

Cocaine and IQ

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JAMA. 1998;280(20):1735. doi:10.1001/jama.280.20.1735-JQU80008-4-1

The image of hopelessly brain-damaged infants isn't the only illustration of prenatal cocaine exposure. A new picture is emerging: thousands of children with more subtle IQ deficits that will require millions in spending for special education.

Researchers at Brown University School of Medicine outlined the scenario in the October 23 issue of Science. Their finding is from a meta-analysis of eight studies that included more than 800 school-aged children from the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. On average, the cocaine-exposed children scored 3.26 points lower on IQ tests than children who were not exposed. On language tests, the negative effect of cocaine exposure was twice as large as its impact on IQ scores.

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