A new study published by the American Institute of Physics has established that there is no safe amount of alcohol consumable by mothers during pregnancy.

The findings were published in the Chaos journal.

“Our study shows that there is no safe amount or safe stages during pregnancy for alcohol consumption. Children exposed to alcohol prenatally are at risk of suffering from impaired cognitive abilities and other secondary factors,” said Lin Gao, author of the study.

Previous studies have linked expectant mothers’ alcohol consumption to cognitive impairments like Foetal Alchohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) among children but questions about the extent of this have, until now, remained unanswered.

Foetal Alchohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is reported to be one of the leading causes of intellectual disability worldwide and has severally been linked to a wide array of neurological problems.

Their findings were reached after measuring cognitive responses via an imaging technique called magnetoencephalography (MEG) and using Cortical Start Spatio-Temporal Multi-Dipole analysis to identify active brain areas during MEG sessions.

After having collected data from 19 FASD patients and 21 subjects without the impairment, they discovered several areas of the brain among the FASD group showing connections consistent with impaired cognitive performance.

Subjects exposed to alcohol prenatally also reported a higher likelihood of developing problems with connections through their corpus callosum, a band of tissue linking the left and right halves of the brain.

Patients suffering schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, autism, depression and sensation abnormalities have similarly reported shortfalls in this same area.

“The paper provides important integrative results for the field of FASD,” said Julia Stephen, a co-author of the study.

“These results may then indicate that simple sensory measures may provide sensitivity for brain deficits that affect the broader cognitive domain.”



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