New research has determined that drinking while pregnant may alter a child's brain. Krisha McCoy of HealthDay News reports:I figured this was common sense, but maybe it isn’t. Drinking alcohol when you’re pregnant is a bad idea—why? Here’s one reason.
Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure does not always lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, noted a team reporting in the August issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. In some cases, it can cause cognitive and behavioral problems without the facial features characteristic of fetal alcohol syndrome.Kind of falls in line with yesterday’s post: Pregnancy: Healthy Eating for Two.
In their study, researchers at San Diego State University (SDSU) examined 22 children and adolescents (ages 8 to 18 years) -- 13 with and 9 without histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. The participants were part of a larger study at the Center for Behavioral Teratology, SDSU.
The participants who were exposed to heavy alcohol before birth had altered responses in the frontal-striatal areas of the brain.
"We found two regions within the prefrontal cortex where the youth with alcohol-exposure histories had increased brain activation and one area in the subcortex (called the caudate nucleus) where the alcohol-exposed youth had decreased brain activation," study co-author Susanna L. Fryer, a graduate student in the SDSU/University of California, San Diego, joint doctoral program in clinical psychology, said in a prepared statement.