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New Drug Could Prevent Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

A new drug might be able to reduce the harmful effects caused to babies by mothers who consume alcohol during pregnancy, according to reserachers at the Cornell// University. Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) results in mental retardation in babies and currently there is no known cure for it.

The reserachers say that a drug called nicotinamide might be able to prevent the ill effects of this particular syndrome. The researchers arrived at this conclusion after successful trials in mice. FAS develops if women consume alcohol during the final three months of pregnancy. This affects the developing brain by retarding the formation and survival of nerve cells. Infants affected by FAS had retarded brain development especially during the first three years of life when brain development proceeds at a rapid pace. But the Cornell reserachers said that more research was needed to confirm the usefulness of nicotinamide in FAS. "The piece suggest you can block one drug (alcohol in the form of ethanol) with another drug which may have its own side effects and cause different types of harm during pregnancy," said Dr Raja Mukherjee, an expert in FAS at St George's Hospital Medical School, London. "Surely the safest way, as the piece suggests, is to not take anything in the fist place rather than block the effects of one thing with another." Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives said that the research did not mean that pregnant women should continue to drink excessively, "Pregnant women should at all times ensure that they're eating the most appropriate, healthy, fresh food alongside a recommended exercise regime to ensure they're at their optimal health during pregnancy."

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