A new research has shown that analysis of a newborn’s first stool can help doctors predict if the child is at risk for future decline in intelligence and reasoning. The study particularly found that a baby born to a mother who consumed alcohol at the time of pregnancy usually has high levels of fatty acid ethyl esters in its first stool. This can help doctors tell if their child is likely to develop cognitive problems during the teen years or not.
One of the researchers Meeyoung Min, research assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University in the US, said that the research team wanted to see if there was a connection between FAEE levels and the cognitive development during childhood as well as adolescence.
Min added that FAEE can be a marker for fetal alcohol exposure as well as development issues in the future. He added that detecting prenatal exposure to liquor at the time of birth can lead to early interventions that can help in reducing effects later.
For the study, researchers had analysed meconium (first stool) of 216 babies for FAEE levels. The participants had then given intelligence tests at the ages nine, 11 and 15. Researchers found a link between those who had high levels of FAEE at birth and lower IQ levels.
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