Jaimee Drakewood hurried in from the rain, eager to get to her final appointment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Ever since her birth 23 years ago, a team of researchers has been tracking every aspect of her development – gauging her progress as an infant, measuring her IQ as a preschooler, even peering into her adolescent brain using an MRI machine.
Now, after nearly a quarter century, the federally funded study was ending, and the question the researchers had been asking was answered.
Did cocaine harm the long-term development of children like Jaimee, who were exposed to the drug in their mother’s womb?
The researchers had expected the answer would be a resounding yes. But it wasn’t. Another factor would prove far more critical.