Neurodevelopmental investigation of the mirror neurone system in children of women receiving opioid maintenance therapy during pregnancy
Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors, Addiction © 2012 Society for the Study of Addiction
Volume 108, Issue 1, pages 154–160, January 2013
How to Cite
Konijnenberg, C. and Melinder, A. (2013), Neurodevelopmental investigation of the mirror neurone system in children of women receiving opioid maintenance therapy during pregnancy. Addiction, 108: 154–160. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2012.04006.x
- Issue published online: 26 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 5 OCT 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 6 JUL 2012 07:42AM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 JUN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 27 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 27 MAY 2011
- Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs. Grant Number: 06/34707
- Norwegian Research Council
- cognitive development;
- mirror neurone system;
- prenatal exposure;
- opioid maintenance therapy
Opioid maintenance therapy (OMT) is generally recommended for pregnant opioid-dependent women. Previous studies investigating the long-term effects of OMT on children's cognitive development found that children of women in OMT have an increased risk of developing deficits in motor and visual perceptual skills, which are important aspects of the mirror neurone system (MNS), a complex neural circuit involved in learning and social interactions. The aim of the current study was to investigate aspects of the MNS in children of women in OMT.
A 2 (control group versus OMT group) × 2 (human versus mechanic) mixed factorial design.
The Cognitive Developmental Research Unit at the University of Oslo, Norway.
Fifteen children of women in OMT and 15 non-exposed children participated.
Goal-directed eye movements were recorded using a Tobii 1750 eye tracker. Neurocognitive tests were employed to map children's cognitive development.
The OMT group made fewer proactive goal-directed eye movements [mean = −37.73, standard deviation (SD) = 208.56] compared to the control group (mean = 181.47, SD = 228.65), F(1,28) = 7.53, P = 0.01, η2 = 0.21. No differences were found on tests of visual perception or goal understanding.
Use of opioid maintenance therapy during pregnancy appears to be associated with impaired goal-directed eye movements in the 4-year-old infant which may affect later social adjustment adversely.