Father’s Alcohol Consumption Before Conception Linked to Brain and Facial Defects in Offspring

Summary: Researchers report paternal alcohol exposure prior to conception is associated with an increased risk of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and facial growth defects in their offspring.

Source: Texas A&M

Retrieved from https://neurosciencenews.com/paternal-alcohol-fas-22999/

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects in their unborn child.

Now, research at Texas A&M University demonstrates that a father’s alcohol consumption before conception also links to growth defects that affect the development of his offspring’s brain, skull and face. 

Research investigating fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) exclusively examines maternal alcohol exposure. However, because men drink more and are more likely to binge drink than women, Dr. Michael Golding, an associate professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ Department of Veterinary Physiology & Pharmacology, and his team set out to challenge the existing dogma, using a mouse model to examine what happens when the mother, father and both parents consume alcohol.

In a new article published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Golding and his team found that male alcohol consumption before conception caused FAS brain and facial growth defects.

“We found that male exposures actually drive certain craniofacial differences much stronger than maternal exposures do, so this programming effect that’s coming through sperm has a profound effect on the organization of the face and the growth and proportion of different facial features,” Golding said.

“When it was the dad drinking, we saw a profound shift in the organization of the face.”

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