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Drinking While Pregnant May Alter Child's Brain

Being exposed to alcohol before birth may lead to behavioral problems later on, U.S. researchers report.
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.
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.
"Prenatal alcohol exposure can cause damage to the brain that results in significant problems with regulating behavior and optimal thinking and learning," Fryer said.

More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more about disorders related to prenatal alcohol exposure.

| Tags: Children's Health, Pregnancy, Sexual Health, Women's Health |

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