Dose-response effect of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and prenatal alcohol exposure: A brief review


Sterling Clarren, MD., FAAP and Jocelynn L. Cook, PhD., MBA
Canada FASD Research Network

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is the most common type of developmental disability worldwide. One of the most important unanswered questions in the field is “how much alcohol in pregnancy is too much?” or what is the “safe” amount of alcohol consumption in pregnancy. The question has been evaluated extensively in humans and in animal models and the answer is not simple unfortunately.

Whether one is studying drugs for treatment or environmental agents as toxins, the evaluation is done in terms of a “dose-response” which considers 1) the amount of the compound received (dose) and 2) the result (response). When working on the problem of dose-response of alcohol for FASD, both parts of the equation are complex.

Generally, people do not know exactly how much alcohol they consume. Liquor and wine are generally…

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