Gransnet forums


Another silly 'health' article

(28 Posts)
Bags Thu 15-Nov-12 09:18:43

Claiming moderate (very moderate) intake of alcoholic drinks during pregnancy "can" cause a drop of two whole IQ points in the baby, except that the causal link cannot be proved.

In other words, it's rubbish.

2 points! That's within the measurement error margin.

Sigh. Wish these twits would stop giving science a bad name.

MiceElf Thu 15-Nov-12 09:24:09

Thank you Bags. I heard this this morning and was consumed with regret about my Sunday verre de vin from 5 to 9 months of pregnancy. It's good to know I can put my regrets in the recycling bin with the empty bottles.

whenim64 Thu 15-Nov-12 09:28:08

Thanks bags. What a non-story! A piece of research that counters these findings is mentioned at the end of the article. What are they doing, IQ testing 5 year olds, anyway? Bonkers!

absentgrana Thu 15-Nov-12 09:32:23

The trouble is you can never tell when the media reports things scientific, whether what they print bears any relationship to what the researchers themselves have concluded.

However, I think it stands to reason that all drugs – alcohol, caffeine, nicotine illegal drugs and, ideally painkillers and prescription drugs – are best avoided during pregnancy. I know my body rejected alcohol, caffeine and nicotine long before my pregnancy was confirmed.

Grannybags Thu 15-Nov-12 09:37:29

I was drinking draught Guinness (for the iron of course!)the night before 8 month check up. On arrival for the check up I was rushed off to a hospital bed and my son was induced the next day due to my high blood pressure. Always blamed the Guinness! His IQ seems to have withstood the ordeal though grin

kittylester Thu 15-Nov-12 10:22:58

Can someone explain to me how they know what the IQ would have been without alcohol? confused

whenim64 Thu 15-Nov-12 10:25:58

Exactly kitty!

MiceElf Thu 15-Nov-12 10:26:41

I've been thinking about this and I would like to ask those researchers to investigate the effects of father's drinking on the unborn child. I'm thinking about DV in particular. Oddly enough this never seems to enter the heads of those who propose research projects, but the effects of fathers' alcohol or drug taking are far more pernicious than the odd weekend drink by mum.

jO5 Thu 15-Nov-12 10:41:40

Best to be forewarned, and to stay on the safe side.

Would it be that difficult to stay off alcohol for the sake of your unborn child?

Bags Thu 15-Nov-12 10:58:53

Good point, Elf.

ayse Thu 15-Nov-12 11:21:23

Alcohol and other drugs certainly effect the quality of the sperm. Two of my three daughters had/are having fertility problems and their other halves were asked to give up alcohol or severely limit its intake.

jO5 Thu 15-Nov-12 12:25:18

Yes. But two wrongs don't make a right.


Can't see what the sperm has to do with this particular piece of research/info.

absentgrana Thu 15-Nov-12 12:51:58

It does say that the research looked at changes in genes. Obviously, dad's affect genes too but I don't think it says anything about ruling out genetic changes relating to paternal inheritance. It was looking only at alcohol intake (or not) during pregnancy and it does rather look as if the research set out to prove what it appears to claim to prove rather than merely find out.

MiceElf Thu 15-Nov-12 12:53:11

Because, as Bags pointed out, the quality of the science is suspect. Another more detailed report gave the purported IQ difference as 1.8.

Even if you think IQ measures anything other than the ability to perform well in culturally biased IQ tests that difference is laughable.

The other point is that these hectoring pieces of 'reaseach' are yet another exude for the media to make women feel guilty.

Pi await the day when there are screaming headlines about prospective fathers needing to lay off the booze so there pregnant partners are not exposed to the effects of their drunken behaviour

MiceElf Thu 15-Nov-12 12:55:23

That should be 'excuse' and 'I'

We need an edit button.

absentgrana Thu 15-Nov-12 12:56:06

Don't hold your breath MiceElf.

JessM Thu 15-Nov-12 13:20:32

It irritates me when journalists do not include a link to the original article. I am struggling to find it. Basically this kind of research could only indicate a causal link if it was a prospective, controlled trial. Two large matched groups, one having a few drinks a week and the other abstaining totally. Which would be very difficult and expensive. If not impossible. Research based on asking women how much they drink is doomed from the start.
A distraction from the dangers of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Bags Thu 15-Nov-12 14:58:44

Prof Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropsychology, Dept of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, said:

“This study, like previous studies, actually found slightly lower IQ in children whose mothers drank no alcohol in pregnancy compared to those who drank moderately. However, the authors argued that this could be due to lower age and educational level among abstainers. They attempted a more sensitive analysis which looked for effects of genetic differences in alcohol metabolism on child’s IQ, and this showed mild effects on average IQ only in those who drank during pregnancy. Unfortunately, though, their category of “moderate drinking” lumped together mothers who reported drinking less than one unit per week and those who drank as much as 6 units per week, making it impossible to determine from these data if there is a safe level of drinking in pregnancy.”

More responses to the study here

Ana Thu 15-Nov-12 15:25:07

Less than one unit a week?? That's moderate drinking? Why bother at all....

jO5 Thu 15-Nov-12 16:08:52

"lower age and educational level among abstainers". That's different!

granniesruntoo Thu 15-Nov-12 21:28:27

When I read the word 'could' related to any research I immediately discount it. After all, who knows what 'could' be possible and who knows if it really is?

JessM Thu 15-Nov-12 21:52:15

Well it "could" be a scientist being cautiously scientific, or it "could " be a journalist jumping to unjustified conclusions grin

Nelliemoser Thu 15-Nov-12 23:43:41

Its just daft! As someone else commented how do you how how bright they would have been anyway?
How bright were their parents? Do more intelligent well informed parents drink less in pregnancy. People are also notorious about under reporting their alcohol or tobacco intake. How did they take select their sample etc.

I don't know if its bad science or bad science reporting.

All we do know is that heavy alcohol intake, like weekly binge drinking can be damaging.

absentgrana Fri 16-Nov-12 08:28:59

I think they are talking about average IQ – whatever that is. I have read reports in different newspapers that give all sorts of different figures for the number of units drunk to the drop in IQ levels. There definitely has been bad reporting and "could be" bad research.

JessM Fri 16-Nov-12 08:49:50

I think bad reporting of pointless research which, because of the design, is always going to be flawed and hard to interpret.