Is This a Human Study? Pregnancy and Alcohol

One of the first things to check out upon learning about any children's health research is whether the study involves humans. This is especially true if the study involves fetal brains or prenatal chemicals or toxins. If you hear the words prenatal or brain, you best figure it out asap. Take this new study on prenatal alcohol I just read about on Science Daily.

Why does prenatal alcohol exposure increase the likelihood of addiction?

July 7, 2017
University at Buffalo
One of the many negative consequences when fetuses are exposed to alcohol in the womb is an increased risk for drug addiction later in life. Neuroscientists are discovering why.
Not if prenatal alcohol increases drug addiction but why. It's taken for a given that booze will mess your baby up. Are you like me trying to recall if a single drop of alcohol passed over your pregnant lips? Apparently alcohol in the womb messes up the rewards circuitry in the brain and leads to such unpleasantries as -  decreased function of endocannabinoid receptors - to be specific. In plain English this means those who are exposed to prenatal booze can become addicted with less alcohol than their peers. Basically, they become addicted quicker.

In the entire article there is not a single mention of the fact that all this doom and gloom involves not human fetuses, but RATS. MALE RATS to be precise. Thank goodness this data is published and not some grad student thesis. You can find it in the Journal of Neuroscience if you must. Note, the study involved moderate and high levels of ethanol - so not low doses.

Am I fan of drinking during pregnancy? No. Did I have a single drop of alcohol in the course of my three pregnancies? No. Does the American Academy of Pediatrics want women who are even thinking of becoming pregnant to drink? Probably not. What's clear is that if you are planning on having sex without birth control, then the AAP does not want you to have any alcohol. If you are drinking and not using birth control, then the AAP does not want you to have sex.

As for animal studies, they are valuable but not equivalent to human ones. This is a much larger topic that I can't fully address here in this brief article but you get the idea. Rats = not human.

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