Moderate Alcohol Use By Pregnant Woman Done Made Kids’ IQ Badder

By Nick Venable | 8 years ago

Fact One: Here in South Louisiana, you’d have trouble finding two people who would share the same definition of “moderate drinking.” One might think it was a six-pack of suds, while another will think it’s as many Jager Bombs as he could fit in his pockets and hat.

Fact Two: Researchers from the universities of Bristol and Oxford studied over 4,000 mothers, and over 4,000 children, to test the effects of the mother’s moderate drinking while pregnant on their child’s IQ . To whittle down this specific cause, the researchers used Mendelian randomization, which in this case uses the known genetic variants that prolonged alcohol exposure causes in order to find applicable volunteers. Because the gene’s mutation is specifically causal, it eliminates any outside influences such as location, social class, or even smoking while pregnant. The study revealed moderate drinking causing lower IQs — two points per genetic change — by a child’s eighth year of age.

Now, I’m not saying those two facts have anything to do with each other, but…

It’s the the first substantial study of its kind, making past conflicting-conclusion tests look drunk in comparison. Past studies that have relied on purely observational evidence aren’t reliable for the simple fact that it skewed towards “better lifestyle = better IQ,” and alcohol’s role couldn’t be singled out.

For the purposes of these tests, known as the Children of the 90s study, 1-6 alcoholic drinks per week is the measure for moderation. Heavy drinkers were not included in the study. (That is one of the most horrifying sentences when you think about it.) The mothers, over 14,000 of which entered the study in 1991 and 1992, took alcohol intake-related questionnaires when they were at 18 weeks and 32 weeks of pregnancy, reporting how much alcohol they’d consumed pre-pregnancy as compared to then, and measured drinking recent to the surveys. The children were tested using a shortened version of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, and the results were adjusted for age.

Obviously, this just means save up all those drinks for one really fucking bonkers Margarita Monday at the Mexican place down the road, right? Right?

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