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Alcohol consumption can cause too much cell death, fetal abnormalities
Date:8/25/2008

wad of stem cells that forms in the first day of life find direction and purpose, he says.

A grant from the March of Dimes, whose mission is to prevent birth defects and infant mortality, is enabling him to compare cell loss in mice following different levels of alcohol consumption to the usual loss that occurs in development.

His focus is these neural crest cells, which help form the upper part of the skull. Some neural crest cells stay in the brain and, early on, these cells share growth factors with neural tube cells. Cognitive and other brain damage is hard to quantify this early, but mice missing the neural crest gene also experience problems with skull and brain development.

Ideally his measurements will give women a better idea of the risk of alcohol consumption and point toward a way to reduce the damage. "You have to make people aware of the science behind the risk," Dr. Bieberich says. "We are not saying that every pregnant woman who drinks three or four glasses of wine in a short period will have a baby with birth defects, but it elevates the risk."


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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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