Drinking Alcohol During Pregnancy Decreases Your Baby’s Brain Power

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — It has been known for many years that drinking alcohol while pregnant can cause serious and irreversible damage to the baby. Now new research shows one more reason why you should only be concerned with your baby’s bottle.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a developmental problem that is caused before birth when a baby is exposed to alcohol. It has been shown to affect many different aspects of brain development, including brain size and difficulties in memory and information processing. New research by researchers at Wayne State University School of Psychiatry shows that exposure to alcohol also affects visual perception, control attention and demand processing.

They collected data from 217 children that were placed in either the alcohol-exposed group, where mothers reported binge drinking while pregnant, or the control group.

Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to observe the changing voltage of the brain’s electrical activity during the memory and coordination trials. This allowed the researchers to explore the differences in the brain’s electrical activity, called event-related potentials, which change in specific ways depending on what task was presented, between the alcohol-exposed and control groups.

“The study demonstrates that there are alterations in this group of children on their processing of information related to these functions,” Claire Coles, a Professor of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science and Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine was quoted saying. “Hopefully, such information can be used to develop more effective teaching methods for children affected by prenatal exposure.”

Researchers also say this information can help children diagnosed with FASD and FAS and it may be able to help create new therapies and treatment.

SOURCE: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, October 2010

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