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Smoking while pregnant linked to ADHD

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Mothers who smoke while pregnant could be putting their child at risk of developing a range of behavioural problems including ADHD, a study has found.

Scientists at the University of York say children conceived by women who smoked during pregnancy may be more likely to develop ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) during the first three years of their lives than other infants.

The findings of the “association study” cannot be generalised to make any definitive conclusions, but the investigation has been welcomed as “interesting” by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries.

Centre spokesman Jimmy Walker said: “We know that smoking affects foetal growth and placental function, and it could well affect the developing brain.”

The news follows the publication of separate research at Cardiff University showing that smoking could be linked to an increased rate of psychosis among teenage children and another report which suggests that prenatal depression could affect infants’ behaviour.

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