The effect of different alcohol drinking patterns in early to mid-pregnancy on child's intelligence, attention and executive function

Department of Public Health, Section of Epidemiology, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark.
BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology (Impact Factor: 3.45). 06/2012; 119(10):1180-90. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2012.03393.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To conduct a combined analysis of the estimated effects of maternal average weekly alcohol consumption, and any binge drinking, in early to mid pregnancy on general intelligence, attention, and executive function in 5-year-old children.
Follow-up study.
Neuropsychological testing in four Danish cities 2003-2008.
A cohort of 1628 women and their children sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort.
Participants were sampled based on maternal alcohol consumption during early pregnancy. At age 5 years, the children were tested for general intelligence, attention, and executive function. The three outcomes were analysed together in a multivariate model to obtain joint estimates and P values for the association of alcohol across outcomes. The effects of low to moderate alcohol consumption and binge drinking in early pregnancy were adjusted for a wide range of potential confounding factors.
Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R), the Test of Everyday Attention for Children at Five (TEACh-5), and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF) scores.
Multivariate analyses showed no statistically significant effects arising from average weekly alcohol consumption or any binge drinking, either individually or in combination. These results replicate findings from separate analyses of each outcome variable.
The present study contributes comprehensive methodological and statistical approaches that should be incorporated in future studies of low to moderate alcohol consumption and binge drinking during pregnancy. Furthermore, as no safe level of drinking during pregnancy has been established, the most conservative advice for women is not to drink alcohol during pregnancy. However, the present study suggests that small volumes consumed occasionally may not present serious concern.

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Available from: Ulrik Schiøler Kesmodel, Jan 04, 2014
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    • "Similarly, of the 74% who originally responded to the survey in the cohort studied by Faden and Graubard [29], only 83% completed the three-year follow-up. As participation may be associated with alcohol status and child neurodevelopmental functioning, an apparent association could be masked if children with speech and language problems were systematically lost to follow-up in these studies [35]. For Greene et al. [31] selection bias may have also influenced the reported findings. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine the effects of low to moderate maternal alcohol consumption during early pregnancy on children's intelligence (IQ) at age 5 years. Prospective follow-up study. Neuropsychological testing in four Danish cities 2003-2008. A cohort of 1628 women and their children sampled from the Danish National Birth Cohort. Participants were sampled based on maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy. At 5 years of age, children were tested with the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence-Revised (WPPSI-R). Parental education, maternal IQ, maternal smoking in pregnancy, the child's age at testing, gender, and tester were considered core confounding factors, whereas the full model also controlled for maternal binge drinking, age, BMI, parity, home environment, postnatal smoking in the home, health status, and indicators for hearing and vision impairments. The WPPSI-R. No differences in test performance were observed between children whose mothers reported consuming between one and four or between five and eight drinks per week at some point during pregnancy, compared with children of mothers who abstained. For women who reported consuming nine or more drinks per week no differences were observed for mean differences; however, the risks of low full-scale IQ (OR 4.6; 95% CI 1.2-18.2) and low verbal IQ (OR 5.9; 95% CI 1.4-24.9) scores, but not low performance IQ score, were increased. Maternal consumption of low to moderate quantities of alcohol during pregnancy was not associated with the mean IQ score of preschool children. Despite these findings, acceptable levels of alcohol use during pregnancy have not yet been established, and conservative advice for women continues to be to avoid alcohol use during pregnancy.
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