Prenatal Tobacco Exposure Can Shrink the Amygdala
Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for obesity, and one reason why may be because it decreases the size of the amygdala in the brain. So reported Zdenka Pausova, M.D., an associate professor of physiology at the University of Toronto, and colleagues recently in the Archives of General Psychiatry, after studying some 400 adolescents. And more distressing news about the effects of tobacco on the brain comes from a study recently reported in Brain Imaging and Behavior in which David Bennett, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychiatry at Drexel University, and colleagues found that exposure to tobacco seems to impair adolescent working memory.

Undoubtedly a number of women who smoke during pregnancy would like to quit, but they are probably not getting the help that they need to do so, yet another study suggests. For more information about this study, see Psychiatric News.