However, most recent publications show little or no effects of occasional or light drinking by the mother during pregnancy. The studies also demonstrate how socio-economic, education, and other lifestyle factors of the mother may have large effects on the health of the fetus and child; these must be considered when evaluating the potential effects of alcohol during pregnancy.
A very large population-based observational study from the UK found that at the age of 5 years, the children of women who reported light (no more than 1-2 units of alcohol per week or per occasion) drinking did not show any evidence of impairment on testing for behavioral and emotional problems or cognitive ability. There was a tendency for the male children of women reporting "heavy/binge" drinking during pregnancy (7 or more units per week or 6 or more units per occasion) to have poorer behavioural scores, but the effects were less clear among female offspring.
A second study, published in Pediatrics, based on a population in Western Australia examined the associations between dose, pattern, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) and birth defects and found similar results, that there was no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.
Data from a randomly selected, population-based cohort of non- indigenous women who gave birth to a live infant in Western Australia (WA) between 1995 and 1997 (N = 4714) were linked to WA Midwives Notification System and WA Birth Defects Registry data. Information about maternal alcohol consumption was collected 3 months after birth for the 3 month period before pregnancy and for each trimester separately.
Low alcohol consumption was defined as less then 7 standard drinks (10g) a week, and no more than 2 drinks on any one day. Women who consumed more than 70g per week were classified as heavy drinkers and women consuming more than 140g were classified as very heavy drinkers.
The study results indicate that the prevalence of birth defects classified as ARBDs by the IOM was low. Compared with abstinence, heavy prenatal alcohol exposure in the first trimester was associated with increased odds of birth defects classified as ARBDs (adjusted odds ratio: 4.6 [95% confidence interval: 1.5-14.3]), with similar findings after validation through bootstrap analysis. There was no association between low or moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and birth defects.
Overall, current scientific data indicate that while drinking during pregnancy should not be encouraged, there is little evidence to suggest that an occasional drink or light drinking by the mother is associated with harm. Heavy drinking, however, is associated with serious developmental defects in the fetus.
Kelly YJ, Sacker A, Gray R, Kelly J, Wolke D, Head J, Quigley MA. Light drinking during pregnancy: still no increased risk for socioemotional difficulties or cognitive deficits at 5 years of age? J Epidemiol Community Health 2010; doi:10.1136/jech.2009.103002
Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Risk of Birth Defects; E Geelhoed, E.J. Elliott and C Bower C. M. O'Leary, N. Nassar, J.J. Kurinczuk, N. de Klerk, Pediatrics 2010;126;e843-e850; originally published online Sep 27, (available at http://www.pediatrics.org/cgi/content/full/126/4/e843)
Comments included in this critique by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research were provided by the following:
Andrew L. Waterhouse, PhD, Marvin Sands Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California, Davis.
Fulvio Ursini, MD, Dept. of Biological Chemistry, University of Padova, Padova, Italy.
Erik Skovenborg, MD, Scandinavian Medical Alcohol Board, Practitioner, Aarhus, Denmark.
Francesco Orlandi, MD, Dept. of Gastroenterology, Università degli Studi di Ancona. Italy.
Ross McCormick PhD, MSC, MBChB, Associate Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.
Tedd Goldfinger, DO, FACC, Desert Cardiology of Tucson Heart Center, Dept. of Cardiology, University of Arizona School of Medicine, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Harvey Finkel, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
R. Curtis Ellison, MD, Section of Preventive Medicine & Epidemiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.
For the detailed critique of this paper by the International Scientific Forum on Alcohol Research, go to www.alcoholforum4profs.org and click on Recent Reports.
The 35 specialists who are members of the Forum are happy to respond to questions from Health Editors regarding emerging research on alcohol and health and will offer an independent opinion in context with other research on the subject.
R. Curtis Ellison | EurekAlert!
Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine