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The effects of fetal alcohol exposure may be more profound than researchers hoped. Results of a new study reveal the prenatal damage to peptides in the fetal brain may endure into adulthood despite environmental enrichment provided in a child’s early years.
Neurotrophins — a family of peptides produced in the nervous system — are critical for normal development of the brain. Research has shown prenatal alcohol exposure may be particularly destructive for neurotrophins, with effects lasting into adulthood.
“Neurotrophins also play important roles in learning and memory, and contribute to the repair of the brain following injury or stress,” study author Robert F. Berman, Ph.D., a professor in the department of neurological surgery at the University of California — Davis, was quoted as saying.
Dr. Berman said treatment of other types of brain injury with environmental enrichment therapy could be beneficial. However, new research in rats suggests the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and environmental rearing conditions on neurotrophin levels are largely independent.
“In this study, we found that being raised in an enriched environment, with ample opportunities for motor and sensory stimulation, and social interactions, unexpectedly resulted in reduced levels of neurotrophins in some areas of the cortex, but not in other areas which are well known to be affected by prenatal alcohol exposure,” Dr. Berman said.
He went on to say additional research is needed to devise better treatment strategies for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.
SOURCE: To be published in the October 2008 edition of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.
With overdoses and deaths involving the use of prescription drugs skyrocketing in the United States, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has selected the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University to host a new initiative to reduce diversion and abuse of these drugs: the PMP Center of Excellence. Funded through a training….
Older alcoholics tend to drink heavily more often than younger people, study finds. Older people who are problem drinkers consume more alcohol than their younger counterparts, a new report finds, possibly because they need more alcohol to achieve the same effect. According to a study released this month, people dependent on alcohol who are older….
THE Queensland Government’s proposal to see the alcohol limit cut to 0.02 across Australia has been labelled as “nonsense” by alcohol and accident experts. Motoring groups, police, accident research centres and hotelliers all rejected moves to slash the drink-driving limit outlined in a Queensland Government discussion paper released yesterday, arguing it would make little difference….
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