Alcohol exposure disrupts brain connections

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Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause parts of the brain to connect in different ways which can lead to behavioral changes, according to new research from the University of California, Riverside.

Using a mice model, researchers found exposure to alcohol disrupts connections in the neocortex and changes the way certain genes are expressed. Mice born to parents exposed to alcohol had dramatic changes in the connections between their frontal, somatosensory, and visual cortex.

“We found elevated levels of anxiety, disengaged behavior, and difficulty with fine motor coordination tasks. These are the kinds of things you see in children with FASD,” lead study author Kelly Huffman, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside, was quoted as saying. “There is no safe level of drinking during pregnancy.

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