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Alcohol and the fetus
We all know about fetal alcohol syndrome, though we don’t see it a lot even in populations with legendary high alcohol intakes. But until Muggli et al reported their findings this year (JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.0778), we had no idea that there was a dose dependent and persistent effect of maternal alcohol consumption on the craniofacial morphology of exposed babies. Importantly, this was not visible to the clinical eye but emerged when 3-dimensional images were captured in infants who were a year old. Because information on alcohol intake in pregnancy was gathered prospectively, and only the 415 children (326 of which were exposed to alcohol prenatally) with complete information on co-variates were included in the analysis, these data are about as robust as you can get in a cohort study. Unsurprisingly alcohol impacted on craniofacial development maximally in the first trimester, but the nature of intake (for example, binge drinking) seemed to make a difference too.
The ART of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome
Continuing the theme of embryopathy, Mussa et al (Pediatrics. 2017;140(1):e20164311) used a population based congenital anomaly register in Italy (Piemonte) to examine the impact of artificial reproductive technologies (ART) on the birth prevalence …