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Chaos study identifies pregnancy alcohol damage

Thursday May 30th, 2019

Any consumption of alcohol in pregnancy is not safe because of changes it can cause to the brain, according to Scottish researchers.

Their conclusions come from a ground-breaking study of the brains of young adults diagnosed with foetal alcohol syndrome.

The researchers used chaos theory to analyse magnetoencephalography readings – and claim it is the first time this has been done successfully using the technique, cortical spatio-temporal multi-dipole analysis.

Comparing the patients with 21 healthy volunteers, the researchers found that foetal alcohol exposure was linked to problems with corpus callosum connections, linking the right and left sides of the brain.

The findings have been reported in the journal Chaos.

Researcher Professor Celso Grebogi, of the University of Aberdeen, said: “Our study, involving brain connectivity and cognition, combined with mathematical modelling, shows that there is no safe amount or safe stages during pregnancy for alcohol consumption.

“Furthermore, there is not only loss of connectivity in the brain - but this may result in cognitive impairments such autism, schizophrenia, dementia.”

The findings were welcomed by the Royal College of Midwives.

Its Scottish director Dr Mary Ross Davie said: “We welcome this study which provides us with further insight into the long term effects that alcohol consumed during pregnancy can have on the brain development of the baby.

“Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders resulting from drinking alcohol in pregnancy can have a serious and life-long impact on a person’s life right into adulthood."

Quantitative assessment of cerebral connectivity deficiency and cognitive impairment in children with prenatal alcohol exposure Chaos 2 April 2019

https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5089527

Tags: Brain & Neurology | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Drug & Alcohol Abuse | Infancy to Adolescence | UK News | Women's Health & Gynaecology

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