Study pokes holes in fetal alcohol hypothesis

A new study published in the journal Brain Behavior and Immunity appears to challenge the theory that cells in the brain’s immune system are the culprit behind the neurological damage that occurs in children exposed to alcohol while in the womb.

“In order to develop treatments for this condition, we must first understand how alcohol affects the developing brain,” said Ania Majewska, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and lead author of the study. “While the hypothesis that dysfunctional immune cells play a role in fetal alcohol syndrome is logical and enticing, it appears that this idea may be a scientific dead end.”

Exposure to alcohol in the womb can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), a condition that causes lifelong physical and cognitive impairments, and for which there is no available treatment. The symptoms suffered by individuals with FASD can range from poor impulse control and attention, learning disabilities, compromised fine motor skills, and delays in the ability of the brain to process visual and auditory information. FASD is diagnosed in about one out of every 100 babies born in the U.S.

Full story at Science Daily

What is the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder?

An article published by JAMA Pediatrics estimates the global prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among children and youth.

Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can cause a wide range of adverse health effects. The effects of prenatal alcohol exposure can have lifelong implications so FASD is costly for society. Updated prevalence estimates are needed to prioritize, plan and deliver health care to high-needs populations, such as children and young people with FASD.

Svetlana Popova, Ph.D., of the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Canada, and coauthors conducted a meta-analysis of 24 studies including 1,416 children and youth diagnosed with FASD.

Full story at Science Daily

Drinking alcohol while pregnant could have transgenerational effects

Soon-to-be mothers have heard the warning — don’t drink while pregnant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous statements about the dangers of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, as it can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in newborns.

Despite this, many women drink during pregnancy, a choice that scientists have known for years could hurt these mothers’ children. Today, there is a new reason why an expectant mother should put down that glass of wine — drinking alcohol during pregnancy will not only affect her unborn child, but may also impact brain development and lead to adverse outcomes in her future grand- and even great-grandchildren.

Full story of alcohol during pregnancy and FASD at Science Daily

Report: No Amount of Alcohol Is Safe for Expecting Moms

The American Academy of Pediatrics stated that no amount of alcohol should be viewed as safe throughout pregnancy and called exposure to prenatal alcohol the leading preventable cause of birth defects and intellectual disabilities in children, Today.com reports.

In a report published in the journal Pediatrics, the Academy underscored that drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), a group of conditions that can occur in a child whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy and that drinking-related birth defects and developmental disabilities are avoidable through abstentions.

The Academy noted that prenatal alcohol exposure is linked to higher incidences of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and learning disabilities, such as problems with math and language, memory skills and impulse control.

Full story of alcohol and expecting mothers at drugfree.org