Thirty-five consecutive infants of cocaine-addicted mothers hospitalized for a comprehensive health assessment and 51 healthy, age-matched infants were studied with electroencephalography at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, PA. No definite EEG seizures were recorded in any of the patients. In infants of cocaine-addicted mothers there was a tendency for electroclinical sleep discordance, and the frequency of early acquisition of a mature pattern of quiet sleep (continuous, slow-wave sleep) was significantly higher than in the comparison group below conceptional age 45 weeks. The significance of precocious maturity of quiet sleep was unclear, but may indicate accelerated biological development. [1]

COMMENT. The authors suggest that the longitudinal assessment of sleep disturbance and its relation to later development might permit tracking of the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to cocaine. Other complications of cocaine exposure in utero are small head circumference, abnormal behavior, cerebral infarction or hemorrhage, seizures and SIDS.