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Moderate Levels of Drinking in Pregnancy Linked With Lower IQ in Children

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A new study suggests even moderate drinking in pregnancy can result in lower IQ levels in children. Researchers found drinking between one and six alcoholic drinks weekly during pregnancy can result in lower IQ scores by the time a child is eight, Reuters reports.

The study included more than 4,000 mothers and children. The researchers analyzed genetic variations that modify the effects of alcohol exposure levels, the article explains.

“Our results suggest that even at levels of alcohol consumption which are normally considered to be harmless, we can detect differences in childhood IQ, which are dependent on the ability of the fetus to clear this alcohol,” researcher Dr. Sarah Lewis of the University of Bristol said in a news release. “This is evidence that even at these moderate levels, alcohol is influencing fetal brain development.”

Co-researcher Dr. Ron Gray of the University of Oxford added, “This is a complex study but the message is simple: even moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can have an effect on future child intelligence. So women have good reason to choose to avoid alcohol when pregnant.”

The results are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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