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Alcohol consumption

Light drinking during pregnancy affects IQ in children

Monday, April 22, 2013 by: PF Louis
Tags: alcohol consumption, pregnant, children


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(NaturalNews) For several decades, consuming alcohol during pregnancy was considered a no-no. Many neurological studies on young children whose mothers were heavy drinkers helped derive a set of developmental and behavioral impairments known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS).

Mothers who are borderline alcoholic or worse often give birth to FAS children, who are impaired with learning disabilities, decision making disabilities, growth and sociability impairments, and sometimes with an IQ that falls into the retarded range.

Not a politically correct term, but one that was used in a 1999 Wayne University (Detroit) meta-study analysis of several other studies on FAS and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND).

ARND is the lesser of two evils, a shadow of FAS symptoms, but often marked by attention or impulsive behavior, even Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). ARND was observationally discovered among children whose mothers drank moderately, usually one or two drinks daily for a few days each week.

ARND was more pronounced on children whose mothers were over 30 and drank moderately during pregnancy than women under 30 who drank moderately. Reading and arithmetic learning was slow among ARND children, but usually with an intact IQ.

It was also discovered that having several drinks in one day occasionally, five or six at a party for example, had a more adverse effect on their newborns than the same amount of drinks spaced out over a week.

The most recent and conclusive UK study

Perhaps that's why the most recent study on moderate drinking while pregnant would eliminate a subject who, during extensive monitoring, reported drinking several drinks or two pints (UK) of beer during one short time period.

The researchers considered it binge drinking. That could cause the effect others had noticed in previous studies and throw a wrench into what they were researching. They wanted their children's IQ results after moderate drinking, one to six units of alcohol per week.

After the first trimester of pregnancy, even fewer than one unit per week was considered moderate drinking for this study. Pretty strict, eh?

This recent study was conducted by researchers from the universities of Bristol and Oxford using data from over 4,000 mothers and their children during the 1990s and published November 14, 2012 in the open journal PLOS ONE.

Science Daily recently explained this study in detail and surmised it was more conclusive than others in the past because they used DNA genetic markers that are not influenced by variations in lifestyle, diet, social standing, environment, or education.

Using genetic variations, known as Mendelian randomization, allows links to be made on future dispositions or even diseases from earlier biological events.

The 4,000-plus women were surveyed at 18 weeks pregnant by filling out a questionnaire to determine their alcohol consumption habits before pregnancy and after. After 32 weeks or when the mother first felt fetal movement, another questionnaire was presented.

Their children were IQ tested at age eight using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, and compared to children from mothers who had consumed no alcohol during pregnancy.

It was discovered that the children from mothers who consumed moderate to even light amounts of alcohol had somewhat significantly lower IQs on average than the teetotaler moms' children.

There you have it. If you want your child to be a genius and not be handicapped with impulsive behavior and distracted attention issues, don't drink at all when you're expecting. After all, there are enough other health and neurological issues to diminish optimum overall health.

Sources for this article include:

Meta-study analysis
http://www.hawaii.edu

Science Daily on recent UK study
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121114172833.htm

UK study's PlosOne journal report
http://www.plosone.org

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