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Prenatal Nicotine Exposure May Lead to Addiction

New research in JAMA Psychiatry investigates the association between prenatal nicotine exposure and an observed higher rate of substance abuse later in life. Researchers used fMRI to test the response to a reward in the ventral striatum of a sample of “177 adolescents with prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking and 177 nonexposed peers (age range, 13-15 years) matched by sex, maternal educational level, and imaging site.” They found that those who were prenatally exposed had weaker responsivity to reward anticipation, and concluded that this “may represent a risk factor for substance use and development of addiction later in life.”

Read the study in JAMA Psychiatry.