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Can breast feeding modify the adverse effects of smoking during pregnancy on the child’s cognitive development?
  1. L Batstra,
  2. J Neeleman,
  3. M Hadders-Algra
  1. University Hospital, Groningen, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Laura Batstra, University Hospital, Hanzeplein 1, PO Box 30.001 Groningen, Netherlands; 

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Harmful effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on cognitive development of the child have been shown,1 as have beneficial effects of breast feeding.2 We examined whether adverse effects of maternal smoking can be modified by breast feeding.


The Perinatal Project Groningen (PPG) is a cohort of 3162 singleton infants born in the University Hospital Groningen in 1975–1978. Perinatally, detailed sociodemographic, obstetric, and neonatal data were collected, including the average number of cigarettes smoked daily by the mother during pregnancy. For this study we focused on those children (n=570) whose reading, spelling, and arithmetic performance was tested around their 9th birthday using short standardised Dutch tests. For sample and test characteristics see Hadders-Algra et al 1988.3 The mothers of the 570 children examined at 9 years breast fed their children less often than the mothers whose children were not followed up (28.7% v 33%; χ2 (2) =10.56, p=0.005) and they smoked more (4.9 v 4.4 cigarettes a day; t=−1.73, p=0.094). However, our comparisons are valid within the …

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  • Funding: this study was supported by grants of Duphar BV, the Praeventiefonds (28–1158), the prinses Beatrix fonds (84–2431), and the Dutch Organisation of Scientific Research (904–57–113 and 900–00–002).

  • Conflicts of interest: none.

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