FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2018 file photo, a week-old baby lies in a neonatal intensive care unit bay at the Norton Children's Hospital in Louisville, Ky. This particular NICU is dedicated to newborns of opioid addicted mothers, that are suffering with newborn abstinence syndrome. The area is kept dark and quiet due to increased production of neurotransmitters in newborns of addicted mothers, which can disrupt the nervous system and overstimulate bodily functions. A study in Tennessee released on Thursday, Aug 30, 2018, found learning disabilities and other special education needs are more common in young children who were born with symptoms from their mothers' prenatal opioid use. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Mom's prenatal opioids may stunt kids' learning, study says

August 30, 2018 - 5:40 am

CHICAGO (AP) — New research says learning disabilities and other special education needs are common in children born with opioid-related symptoms from their mother's prenatal drug.

It's the first big U.S. study to examine potential long-term learning difficulties in these children.

It involved about 7,200 Tennessee Medicaid children aged 3 to 8. One in seven opioid-affected kids required special classroom services for problems including developmental delays and speech or language difficulties, compared with about one in 10 children not exposed to opioids before birth.

Results were published Thursday in Pediatrics. Affected kids had newborn abstinence syndrome. It involves tremors, fussiness and other signs that can last for weeks after birth.

About one U.S. infant is born with the condition at least every 25 minutes and the numbers have tripled since 2008.

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