The Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS)

2014-08-27 03:55:18 | BioPortfolio


This study will evaluate the effects of a mother's use of cocaine and opiates during pregnancy on her infant. The study will assess both the short-term complications and the long-term outcomes.


Interest in and availability of cocaine, marijuana, and opiates have complicated long-term investigations into the effects of the widespread recreational use of easily accessible substances like alcohol and tobacco. It remains impossible to determine in single site, small number studies what effects may be related to the use of a specific drug. By accessing the large multi-site population of newborn infants and their mothers available in the NICHD Network of Neonatal Intensive Care Units, this study will evaluate the relationship between the mother's use of cocaine and/or opiates during pregnancy and the effects on her infant.

Maternal practices assessed in this study include the use and abuse of opiates, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine. This study will address acute perinatal events and long-term medical, developmental, social, environmental, and neurobehavioral outcomes of infants whose mothers engaged in these maternal practices. The study will determine whether specific acute and long-term effects can be attributed to the use and abuse of specific substances.

Over 2 years, approximately 20,000 infants were screened with a goal of enrolling 16,000 infants. It was estimated that approximately 20% of infants would have been exposed to cocaine or opiates. The determination of exposure was based on self-report by the mother or positive meconium assay.

The first phase of the study evaluated the acute effects of maternal practices on infants. This phase involved all mothers who agreed to respond to the initial questionnaire and who allowed the meconium drug screen to be performed on their infants. Acute outcomes are being compared between infants who were exposed to cocaine and opiates through their mothers' use (the exposed group) and infants who were not exposed (the nonexposed group). Acute outcomes include abruptio placenta, fetal growth retardation, non-life threatening congenital malformations, respiratory distress syndrome, chronic lung disease, periventricular-intraventricular hemorrhage, necrotizing enterocolitis, retinopathy of prematurity, and periventricular leukomalacia.

The second phase of the study compared 1,400 exposed and nonexposed infants with respect to long-term neurodevelopmental outcomes. These infants were among the 16,000 infants enrolled in Phase I. It was estimated that 70% of the screened population would consent to participate in Phase II of the study, and 50% of these participants would complete all visits over the initial 3-year study period (2,000 exposed infants enrolled into Phase II and 1,000 exposed infants would complete all follow-up visits). For each exposed infant, an infant of similar age, race, sex, and either alcohol history or maternal age was selected from the nonexposed, screened population. All infants had physical, neurological, gestational age, and growth assessments at birth. The exposed and nonexposed infants were examined at 1, 4, 7, 9, 12, 18, 24, and 36 months corrected age. Follow-up assessments include medical history, and developmental, behavioral, social, and environmental outcomes.

The third phase of the study compared children at ages 4 to 7. The fourth phase is now comparing outcomes in children ages 8 to 11 years old. Assessments include measures of cognition, school performance, antisocial behavior, onset of substance use, psychopathology, neuroendocrine function, and health disorders. Seventy-one percent of the original sample is still enrolled.

Study Design

Additional Descriptors: Psychosocial, Observational Model: Case Control, Time Perspective: Longitudinal, Time Perspective: Prospective


Cocaine Abuse


University of Miami
United States


Active, not recruiting


Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:55:18-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

An alkaloid ester extracted from the leaves of plants including coca. It is a local anesthetic and vasoconstrictor and is clinically used for that purpose, particularly in the eye, ear, nose, and throat. It also has powerful central nervous system effects similar to the amphetamines and is a drug of abuse. Cocaine, like amphetamines, acts by multiple mechanisms on brain catecholaminergic neurons; the mechanism of its reinforcing effects is thought to involve inhibition of dopamine uptake.

The purified, alkaloidal, extra-potent form of cocaine. It is smoked (free-based), injected intravenously, and orally ingested. Use of crack results in alterations in function of the cardiovascular system, the autonomic nervous system, the central nervous system, and the gastrointestinal system. The slang term "crack" was derived from the crackling sound made upon igniting of this form of cocaine for smoking.


Disorders related or resulting from use of cocaine.

Abuse of children in a family, institutional, or other setting. (APA, Thesaurus of Psychological Index Terms, 1994)

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