Antonia Manduca, PhD,"Cannabis and dietary imbalance during breast feeding: what are the consequences for the child?"

Fellow 2017 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science, Antonia Manduca seeks to identify the early neuronal and behavioral consequences of the cannabis consumption.

Cannabis is the illegal drug most consumed by pregnant and breast-feeding women. It’s used by up to 16%(1) of young women in France, more than any other European country. At the same time, malnutrition due to a diet that is unbalanced in terms of polyunsaturated fatty acids is another global scourge which affects poorer countries in particular. 

Antonia Manduca, who is originally from the South of Italy, divides her time between being a mum and her post-doctoral research at the Pathophysiology of Synaptic Plasticity Laboratory at the Institut de Neurobiologie de la Mediterranée (INMED) de Marseille. The aim of her research is to identify the early neuronal and behavioral consequences of these two phenomena during the breast-feeding period and at different stages of development, in rodents. To this end, the young researcher is working to understand the connections between the different neurones of the prefrontal cortex. “My goal is to study the pathophysiological changes in the brain and the social and cognitive behavioral alterations caused by prenatal (in utero) and postnatal (through breast-feeding) exposure to THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the main component of cannabis.” 

For the first time, it is possible to evaluate these changes in real time. A project that is sure to resonate strongly with the general public, as breast-feeding is currently strongly encouraged by the French National Public Health Agency.

(1) Interministerial Mission for Combating Drugs and Addictive Behavior (MILDECA)

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For Women in Science

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