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Babies born to mothers who smoke tobacco are at increased risk for attention-deficit hyper-activity disorder (ADHD), finds a study of Finnish mothers and infants published in Pediatrics. Researchers looked at 1,079 Finnish children born in 1998 and 1999 who were diagnosed with ADHD and 1,079 matched controls without ADHD. The researchers measured the levels of cotinine–a biomarker of nicotine exposure–in the children’s mothers during pregnancy, using serum samples stored in a Finnish biobank. On average, children of mothers with high levels of cotinine were more than twice as likely to develop ADHD than children born to mothers with low cotinine levels, even after the researchers controlled for maternal socio-economic status, maternal age, maternal psychopathology, paternal age, paternal psychopathology and child’s birth weight. (Monitor on Psychology)

Susie Bean Gives