“Fetal assault” and later environment effects on child development: using neuroscience as a tool for political policy
|Premature infant, courtesy of Wikipedia
|A government campaign to warn against
cocaine use, courtesy of Wikipedia
After other researchers, Coles included, performed additional studies examining the effects of prenatal exposure to cocaine, Chasnoff realized his initial findings overstated the detrimental effects of cocaine on the developing infant. Yet, by the time Chasnoff realized his error and attempted to recant his strong early statements, it was too late. During the 1980s and 1990s, when Chasnoff’s research was first popularized, the nation was also battling a cocaine epidemic. Chasnoff’s claims supporting the negative effects of prenatal cocaine exposure fit into the public’s desire to discourage the growing popularity of cocaine, and, as a result, Chasnoff’s findings were quickly accepted as true. Despite Chasnoff’s revised statements and the presentation of Coles’ findings that collectively lessened the damage caused by prenatal exposure to cocaine, the notion of the “crack baby” was already well established in the media and in the collective mind of the public and thus was not easily eliminated. The media sensationalized findings that reinforced the public’s beliefs and fit into their collective social consciousness, and suppressed the later findings that refuted that claim.
|There is a complex relationship between science and the
media, courtesy of Wikipedia
Want to cite this post?
Hoffman, C. (2016). “Fetal assault” and later environment effects on child development: using neuroscience as a tool for political policy. The Neuroethics Blog. Retrieved on , from http://www.theneuroethicsblog.com/2016/01/fetal-assault-and-later-environment.html