Why Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Affects Some Children But Not Others

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Exposure to alcohol in the womb doesn't affect all fetuses equally. Why does one woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy give birth to a child with physical, behavioral or learning problems - known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder - while another woman who also drinks has a child without these problems?

One answer is a gene variation passed on by the mother to her son ... This gene variation contributes to a fetus' vulnerability to even moderate alcohol exposure by upsetting the balance of thyroid hormones in the brain.

... "The findings open up the possibility of using dietary supplements that have the potential to reverse or fix the dosage of the thyroid hormones in the brain to correct the problems caused by the alcohol exposure," ...

... Efforts to educate pregnant women about the risks of alcohol have not changed the percentage of children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder ...

... "The identification of this novel mechanism will stimulate more research on other genes that also influence alcohol-related disorders, especially in females," ...

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