Prenatal alcohol exposure and offspring cognition and school performance. A mendelian randomization natural experiment

Zuccolo, Luisa, Lewis, Sarah J., Smith, George D., Saya, Kapil, Draper, Elizabeth S., Fraser, Robert, Barrow, Margaret, Alati, Rosa, Ring, Sue, Macleod, John, Golding, Jean., Heron, Jon and Gray, Ron (2013) Prenatal alcohol exposure and offspring cognition and school performance. A mendelian randomization natural experiment. International Journal of Epidemiology, 42 5: 1358-1370. doi:10.1093/ije/dyt172

Author Zuccolo, Luisa
Lewis, Sarah J.
Smith, George D.
Saya, Kapil
Draper, Elizabeth S.
Fraser, Robert
Barrow, Margaret
Alati, Rosa
Ring, Sue
Macleod, John
Golding, Jean.
Heron, Jon
Gray, Ron
Title Prenatal alcohol exposure and offspring cognition and school performance. A mendelian randomization natural experiment
Journal name International Journal of Epidemiology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0300-5771
Publication date 2013
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/ije/dyt172
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 42
Issue 5
Start page 1358
End page 1370
Total pages 13
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Subject 2713 Epidemiology
Abstract Background There is substantial debate as to whether moderate alcohol useduring pregnancy could have subtle but important effects on offspring, by impairing later cognitive function and thus schoolperformance. The authors aimed to investigate the unconfoundedeffect of moderately increased prenatal alcohol exposure oncognitive/educational performance. Methods We used mother-offspring pairs participating in the AvonLongitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) and performedboth conventional observational analyses and Mendeliarandomization using an ADH1B variant (rs1229984) associatedwith reduced alcohol consumption. Women of White European origin with genotype and self-reported prenatal alcohol consumption, whose offspring's IQ score had been assessed in clinic (N1/44061 pairs) or Key Stage 2 (KS2) academic achievement score was available through linkage to the National Pupil Database (N1/46268), contributed to the analyses. Results Women reporting moderate drinking before and during early pregnancy were relatively affluent compared with women reporting lighter drinking, and their children had higher KS2 and IQscores. In contrast, children whose mothers' genotype predisposesto lower consumption or abstinence during early pregnancy hadhigher KS2 scores (mean difference 1.7, 95% confidence interval0.4, 3.0) than children of mothers whose genotype predisposed to heavier drinking, after adjustment for population stratification. Conclusions Better offspring cognitive/educational outcomes observed in association with prenatal alcohol exposure presumably reflected residual confounding by factors associated with social position and maternaleducation. The unconfounded Mendelian randomization estimatessuggest a small but potentially important detrimental effect of small increases in prenatal alcohol exposure, at least on educational outcomes.
Keyword Alcohol dehydrogenase
Confounding factors
Educational measurement
Mendelian randomization analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 16 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Thu, 28 Nov 2013, 21:02:54 EST by System User on behalf of School of Public Health