East Tennessee Psychological Investigators Seek to Understand Effect of Prenatal Opioid Exposure on Infant Development

East Tennessee Psychological investigators seek to Understand Effect of Prenatal Opioid Exposure on Infant Development

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) researchers initiated a study to evaluate how visual processing and motor development in newborns might be impacted by prenatal opioid exposure. The study’s lead investigator is Dr. Alyson Chroust, a cognitive developmental psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology.

With ETSU research Development Committee contributing funds, Chroust and team are recruiting families and newborns from 12 hours old to those who need to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit at the Niswonger Children’s Hospital at Johnson City Medical Center.

The Costs of the Opioid Crisis

The opioid crisis has ravaged rural areas, such as those in these parts of Tennessee. Unfortunately, many times it is infants that bear the brunt of the crisis—exhibiting the withdrawal and other symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, causing them to possibly in the hospital for a few days while they are monitored and potentially treated for NAS.

The Study

Of course, the researchers must obtain informed consent from the patients’ parents; upon this action, they (the researchers) will conduct a series of tests on both opioid-exposed and non-opioid-...

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