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Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Psychological Stress during Pregnancy Induce Attention and Neuromotor Impairments in Primate Infants

Mary L. Schneider, Elizabeth C. Roughton and Gabriele R. Lubach
Child Development
Vol. 68, No. 5 (Oct., 1997), pp. 747-759
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1132030
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1132030
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Psychological Stress during Pregnancy Induce Attention and Neuromotor Impairments in Primate Infants
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Abstract

This study examined the effects of moderate alcohol and/or psychological stress during pregnancy on offspring growth and behavior in 33 rhesus monkey infants (Macana mulatta). Infants were derived from 1 of 3 groups of females: (1) alcohol-consuming, 0.6 g/kg, daily throughout gestation (equivalent to 1-2 drinks), beginning 5 days prior to breeding; (2) alcohol-consuming (as above) and exposed to mild psychological stress (removal from home cage and exposed to 3 random noise bursts); (3) sucrose-consuming, equivolemic, and equicaloric to the alcohol solution. Beginning on day 4 postpartum, infants underwent brief weekly separations from their mothers for assessment of growth, behavior, and facial dimensions. Results indicated that moderate alcohol consumption throughout pregnancy was sufficient to affect attention and neuromotor functioning, even though the infants were normal in birthweight, gestational length, and facial dimensions. Moreover, alcohol-induced neuromotor impairments were exacerbated by maternal exposure to psychological stress, and males from the alcohol/stress condition had reduced birthweights. Finally, although all females consuming alcohol produced viable offspring, alcohol accompanied by stress during gestation resulted in 23% fetal losses (abortion and stillbirths).

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