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Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol Disrupts Brain Circuitry

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Groundbreaking research by UCR neuroscientists demonstrates severe changes that alter behavior.............

Prenatal exposure to alcohol severely disrupts major features of brain development that potentially lead to increased anxiety and poor motor function, conditions typical in humans with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), according to neuroscientists at the University of California, Riverside.



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Chemar, I found that article interesting but in the last 30 years there has probably been a reduction of alcohol consumption compared to the previous generations who didn't have any information on prenatal health. This doesn't account for the epidemic of neurological issues our children face now. I can only speak for myself but I know my mother and mother-in-law occasionally drank alcohol while pregnant. Between the two there are 10 children and not one with learning or social issues. If it skips a generation hmmm...


Sorry, just playing devil's advocate.

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Don't kid yourself about reductions in the level of alcohol consumption by pregnant women. There is also variability in how each woman processes alcohol based on age, health and level of drinking before pregnancy. Younger healthier women may have a wider margin of safety in having a few drinks during pregnancy than older women or those with other health issues. This is a known fact. The Univ of Washington has two FAS experts who have lots of experience in assessment of infants and children for FAS.


I had the opportunity to listen to a local doctor who has lots of experience in identifying FAS among adopted infants and children. She works at a major university affiliated childrens hospital. She lobbied to get FAS screening in place for every baby born at the hospital. When it was finally implemented and an expert hired to do the screening, all the peds and obgyns complained it was a waste of money. The common complaint was that they knew their patients and there was little to no drinking going on among the pregnant women. Imagine their surprise when at the end of the year the results were shared. Instead of finding approximately 3-5% of babies with FAS or FASD, which would be theexpected norm in the population, they found 18%. In a suburban, university hospital with a mostly middle to upper class clientele. To say everyone was shocked would be an understatement. Those suburban moms were drinking more than they were reporting to their obgyns.


Its also hard for women to connect problems in their children when they reach school age and the problems begin to show themselves and the drinking they did when they were pregnant. As an adoptive mother of a child from Russia, I am very well educated on FAS/FASD. Thankfully, my son has neither. I know families who were not so lucky. Its a nightmare akin to PANDAS but for which, there is never really going to be the hope of any relief. I would add, its also a spectrum disorder. Some children are severely affected and others mildly so. In the world of FAS/FASD, children with facial features and born to mothers who were documented as drinking are diagnosed FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome). Children without facial features and/or without direct knowledge of the mother drinking are diagnosed FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). But whatever you want to call it, its difficult and preventable.

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