Why pregnant women better be teetotallers
Alcohol use by expectant mothers can impair the mental and physical development of their babies, in what is known as foetal alcohol syndrome, show results available through advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Recently, researchers in Poland used three different MRI techniques to better define these effects.
The study involved 200 children who were exposed to alcohol during their foetal stage and 30 children whose mothers did not drink while pregnant or during lactation.
They used MRI to evaluate the size and shape of the corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibres that forms the major communication link between the right and left halves of the brain, in the two groups, according to a Jagiellonian University statement.
The MRI results showed statistically significant thinning of the corpus callosum in children exposed to alcohol, compared with the other group.
"These changes are strongly associated with psychological problems in children," said Andrzej Urbanik, head of the department of radiology at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland.
These findings were presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).