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Alcohol in womb slows teenage brain

In the first study of its kind, researchers find that even moderate drinking can cause foetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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In the first study of its kind, researchers found that children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) showed weaker brain activation during mental tasks than their unaffected counterparts.

Birth defects associated with the syndrome are usually related to heavy drinking, but can result from moderate consumption.

The findings, published in the journal Cerebral Cortex, suggest a possible reason for the attention problems seen in children with the condition, whose symptoms include cognitive impairment, poorer intelligence and attention, and central nervous system abnormalities.

Dr Prapti Gautam, of the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, led the study.