Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Prenatal exposure to alcohol disrupts brain circuitry

     Although it is somewhat well known that drinking high levels of alcohol while pregnant can harm the baby and that moderation is the key, a new study shows that there isn't a "safe level" of alcohol that can be had whilst the woman is pregnant. Even a little could cause cognitive issues with the child.
     Neuroscientists from the University of California, Riverside recently discovered how alcohol reconnects parts of the brain in an erroneous way. The neocortex of the brain helps individuals with things such as balance, emotion and thought. When the mother consumes alcohol,  the intraneocortical links between  the visual cortex, frontal cortex and the somatosensory cortex are  messed with. This was seen with the mice in the experiment that was done by the researchers.
    This article is significant in that it provides proof that a widely held misconception is wrong. Many mothers may drink what they deem "safe levels" of alcohol ignorant of the fact that it could be harming the fetus. The research conducted on this topic helps prevent babies from being born with certain diseases similar to autism and FASD by making mothers aware of the impact of what seems like a harmless little drink. Also research on how alcohol manipulates the formation of the brain can help other researchers understand various diseases that are linked to alcohol consumption in order to possibly find a cure.



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