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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Alcohol abuse--a persistent preventable risk for congenital anomalies.

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether alcohol abuse (ALC) continued to be a health hazard to pregnant women in the 1990s. STUDY DESIGN: Analysis of a perinatal data base comprising 170,258 women with singleton pregnancies. Univariate cross table analysis and logistic regression were conducted to examine the association between alcohol abuse and congenital malformations coded according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). RESULTS: 14,727/170,258 mothers (8.6%) admitted to ALC during pregnancy and 36,705/170,258 (21.6%) to smoking. Anomaly rates for ALC (365/14,092, 4.3%) vs. Non-ALC (6187/149,344, 4.0%) differed significantly (p<0.001). The rates of specific anomalies varied between <0.1% and 1.1%. Odds ratios for 16 ICD 9 anomaly categories were >1 in 14 instances overall (Sign test, p=0.004), in 12 instances in women <30 years (p=0.08), and in 13 instances in women over 30 years (p=0.02). Congenital anomalies of the "respiratory system" (ICD9 748), of "genital organs" (ICD9 752.1), of the "integument" (ICD9 757), and "other anomalies of limbs/other musculoskeletal anomalies" (ICD 755/756) were statistically significantly associated with ALC, especially in women>30 years. CONCLUSION: ALC in pregnancy continued to be an important factor independently associated with an increased incidence of a broader range of congenital anomalies than previously recognized. Risk for anatomic anomalies was increased in offspring of ALC women over age 30, consistent with previous reports of increased risk of neurobehavioral abnormality in offspring of women over 30.[1]


  1. Alcohol abuse--a persistent preventable risk for congenital anomalies. Baumann, P., Schild, C., Hume, R.F., Sokol, R.J. Int. J. Gynaecol. Obstet (2006) [Pubmed]
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