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Moderate prenatal alcohol exposure was associated with a modest increase in adolescent learning and behavioural difficulties

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To determine whether an association exists between prenatal alcohol exposure and behavioural and learning difficulties in early adolescence.


Population based cohort study from the Seattle Longitudinal Prospective Study on Alcohol and Pregnancy.




250 infants of women who reported social alcohol use during pregnancy and 250 infants of women who reported infrequent or no alcohol use during pregnancy were selected in 1974–5 and followed up to a mean age of 14.5 years. Mothers were predominantly white, married, middle class, 20–30 years of age, and at low risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes. 249 boys and 215 girls completed the 14 year follow up.

Assessment of risk factors

Mothers were interviewed during the fifth month of pregnancy about early and mid-pregnancy alcohol use, demographics, pregnancy history, nutrition, and use of caffeine, tobacco, and illicit and prescription …

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  • Sources of funding: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

  • For article reprint: Dr C Olson, Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, 180 Nickerson, Suite 309, Seattle, WA 98109, USA. Fax +1 206 685 2903.