Response inhibition among early adolescents prenatally exposed to tobacco: An fMRI studystar, open

aDrexel University College of Medicine, United States

bTemple University School of Medicine, United States

cRobert Wood Johnson Medical School, United States

Received 16 November 2006;

revised 20 January 2009;

accepted 30 March 2009.

Available online 5 April 2009.


Children prenatally exposed to tobacco have been found to exhibit increased rates of behavior problems related to response inhibition deficits. The present study compared the brain function of tobacco-exposed (n = 7) and unexposed (n = 11) 12-year-olds during a Go/No-Go response inhibition task using an event-related functional MRI (fMRI) design. Prenatal alcohol exposure, neonatal medical problems, environmental risk, IQ, current environmental smoke exposure, and handedness were statistically controlled. Tobacco-exposed children showed greater activation in a relatively large and diverse set of regions, including left frontal, right occipital, and bilateral temporal and parietal regions. In contrast, unexposed but not exposed children showed activation in the cerebellum, which prior research has indicated is important for attention and motor preparation. The diversity of regions showing greater activation among tobacco-exposed children suggests that their brain function is characterized by an inefficient recruitment of regions required for response inhibition.

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