A group of investigators from the University of California in Riverside (UCR) says that pregnant women should avoid consuming alcohol due to a host of negative effects this substance has on fetuses.
Among these effects, the neuroscientists mention the severe disruption of key features related to brain development, as well as an increased risk of developing anxiety, and a higher chance of suffering from poor motor functions later on in life.
Prenatal exposure to alcohol also tends to influence gene expression patterns, thus hampering the correct development of critically-important neural connections in the neocortex, the newest-acquired portion of the human brain, Science Blog reports.
At the same time, the team found a higher chance of infants' brains exhibiting neural connections between areas of the brain that should not be connected, while regions that should be tied together suffer from lack of communication.
Simply put, “if you consume alcohol when you are pregnant you can disrupt the development of your baby’s brain,” says UCR Assistant Professor of psychology Kelly Huffman.