A new study from Örebro University, Sweden, has explained that smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect children's coordination and physical control.
- Moreover, we discovered that boys' abilities may be affected to a greater extent than those of girls, says Professor Scott Montgomery at Örebro University.
- There is a link between nicotine and testosterone. Nicotine can influence development of the brain and interacts with testosterone particularly during the foetal stage, and this could make boys extra susceptible to foetal nicotine exposure, says Matz Larsson, researcher in medicine and consultant physician at Örebro University Hospital.
The results are based on a study of over 13,000 children taking part in the National Child Development Study. The children, all born in Great Britain in the same week in March 1958, are followed throughout their lives. The smoking habits of the mothers during pregnancy were also recorded.
At the age of eleven, the children were tested by a school doctor in terms of physical control and coordination. They were set the task of picking up 20 matches against time - both with their left and right hand. They had to tick up to 200 squares against time and copy a simple figure.