For years, scientists have been struggling to report the effects of alcohol in pregnancy. However, there is another reason not to drink as you expect a child. The effects of alcohol affect not only the fetus but also the brain development of future generations.
Kelly Huffman of the University of California had shown that alcohol in pregnancy affects the anatomy of the neocortex, the area responsible for the behavior. Changes can cause abnormal motor behavior and increase the risk of anxiety. The new study has shown that the effects of prenatal exposure to ethanol persist in later generations.
The research team has produced a guinea pig with fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) and analyzed development. The cave exposed in utero to alcohol showed atypical gene expression and an abnormal cerebral development. Similar consequences were, however, also present in subsequent generations, not exposed to alcohol. Small guinea pigs affected by FASD were smaller, suffering from anxiety and depressive behaviors.
Alcohol consumption in pregnancy causes changes in the nervous system affecting the behavior of the subjects involved. Changes, however, seem to be inherited and therefore require more in-depth studies.