Birth defects connected to father’s alcohol use

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 25th May 2016

AlcoholAcademics in the US have published a new study reporting a growing body of research connecting birth defects to a father’s alcohol use.

The study, which was a review of existing literature, found a series of studies connecting the father’s alcohol use to problems in his children.

Senior research investigator, Joanna Kitlinska from Georgetown University, said one study discovered newborns can be diagnosed with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FSAD) even if the mother has never consumed alcohol.

“Up to 75 percent of children with FASD have biological fathers who are alcoholics, suggesting that preconceptual paternal alcohol consumption negatively impacts their offspring,” Kitlinska said.

The study also found paternal alcohol use can lead to decreased newborn birth weight, marked reduction in overall brain size and impaired cognitive function.

“We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring,” Kitlinska said.

“But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers — his lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function,” she says. “In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well.”