Home > News 06 August 2014 Heavy drinking in pregnancy harms child's brain If a woman drinks excessively during pregnancy, it may affect her child's brain development over a long period of time. 0 Pregnant woman with bottle of beer from Shutterstock ~ Iakov Filimonov Related Some alcohol in pregnancy may be OK Foetal alcohol syndrome higher in adopted kids Pregnant moms unaware of drinking risk When a woman drinks heavily during pregnancy, the harmful effects on her child's brain development appear to continue over time, a new study indicates. The findings point to a possible reason for the persistent attention and behaviour problems experienced by children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders, the researchers noted. Weaker brain activationThe investigators used functional MRI to monitor the brain activity of children with and without foetal alcohol spectrum disorders over two years. The results showed that children with the disorder had weaker brain activation while doing certain mental tasks than those without the disorder. Read: Foetal alcohol spectrum disorders"We found that there were significant differences in development brain activation over time between the two groups, even though they did not differ in task performance," study senior author Elizabeth Sowell, director of the Developmental Cognitive Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Saban Research Institute, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, said in a hospital news release. "While the healthy control group showed an increase in signal intensity over time, the children with [foetal alcohol spectrum disorders] showed a decrease in brain activation during visuo-spatial attention," she explained. Read: Foetal alcohol exposure affects brain structure in kidsVisuo-spatial attention refers to how you visually perceive the spatial relationships among objects in your environment. The study was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex. Persistent problemsThe findings show that drinking during pregnancy can change how a child's brain signalling develops during childhood and the teen years, long after being exposed to alcohol in the womb, the researchers said. The investigators added that the reduced brain activation in children with foetal alcohol spectrum disorders could explain why they have persistent attention and behavioural problems as they mature. Read more:Alcohol in pregnancyDrinking during pregnancy risks premature birthMom’s drinking damages unborn babiesImage: Pregnant woman with bottle of beer from Shutterstock Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved. More in News Legal marijuana unlikely to tempt more kids More: News advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Lifestyle Legal marijuana unlikely to tempt more kids Fitness Boosting muscle strength may improve memory Lifestyle Women catching up fast with male alcohol use Parenting Epidural better than 'laughing gas' for labour pain Parenting Infants should share parents' room to help prevent SIDS Lifestyle Blood for transfusion doesn't have to be fresh From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.