Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One Hit Of Crystal Meth Causes Birth Defects, Affects Fetuses At All Stages Of Development

Date:
July 27, 2005
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A single prenatal dose of methamphetamine -- commonly known as speed -- may be enough to cause long-term neurodevelopmental problems in babies, say University of Toronto researchers.

A single prenatal dose of methamphetamine -- commonly known as speed -- may be enough to cause long-term neurodevelopmental problems in babies, say University of Toronto researchers.

Related Articles


In research published in the August issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, U of T pharmacy and pharmacology professor Peter Wells and his colleagues determined that exposing pregnant mice only once to methamphetamine led to delivery of offspring with long-term neurodevelopmental problems, including reduced motor co-ordination. Methamphetamine is a potent and addictive stimulant.

"We've known for a while that meth abuse during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight, cleft palates and other malformations but this is the first research demonstrating that even a single exposure can cause long-term damage," says Wells. "It's pretty remarkable that a single low dose can have such an effect.

"It's an important finding, given the increasing use of club drugs among women of childbearing age. It has clinical implications, because it shows that the fetus is exquisitely sensitive."

The developing fetus appears to be vulnerable to DNA damage from methamphetamine exposure because it hasn't yet developed the enzymes that protect it against free radicals -- highly activated, destructive oxygen molecules that have been implicated in cancer and neurodegenerative diseases, says Wells. This vulnerability lasts from the embryonic stage through the later fetal period, times when organ structures and mental functions develop.

"People usually think the last trimester of pregnancy is when developing brain function is most susceptible to damage, but in this case the brain is also affected by methamphetamine even in the earlier embryonic period," says Wells.

Wells' next step will be to study women and their babies who have been exposed to drugs like methamphetamine that enhance free radical formation to see if the human damage is consistent with his mouse findings. He will also try to determine whether the methamphetamine causes other lasting damage in mice, such as impacts on learning and memory.

"Methamphetamine has very different toxic effects in the fetal brain than in adult mice, which surprised me," says Wells. "In adults, you can see actual structural degeneration of the brain."

U of T doctoral candidates Winnie Jeng and Andrea Wong and undergraduate Ryan Ting-A-Kee were also involved in this study. The research was supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The doctoral candidates received awards from the CIHR/Rx&D Health Research Foundation, the American Society of Toxicology and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "One Hit Of Crystal Meth Causes Birth Defects, Affects Fetuses At All Stages Of Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050727063759.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2005, July 27). One Hit Of Crystal Meth Causes Birth Defects, Affects Fetuses At All Stages Of Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050727063759.htm
University of Toronto. "One Hit Of Crystal Meth Causes Birth Defects, Affects Fetuses At All Stages Of Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050727063759.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

1st Responders Trained for Autism Sensitivity

AP (Dec. 16, 2014) More departments are ordering their first responders to sit in on training sessions that focus on how to more effectively interact with those with autism spectrum disorder (Dec. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Guys Are Idiots, According To Sarcastic Study

Newsy (Dec. 12, 2014) A study out of Britain suggest men are more idiotic than women based on the rate of accidental deaths and other factors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

Believing in Father Christmas Good for Children's Imaginations

AFP (Dec. 12, 2014) As the countdown to Christmas gets underway, so too does the Father Christmas conspiracy. But psychologists say that telling our children about Santa, flying reindeer and elves is good for their imaginations. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins