Document Detail

Fetal or infantile exposure to ethanol promotes ethanol ingestion in adolescence and adulthood: a theoretical review.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15976517     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Despite good evidence that ethanol abuse in adulthood is more likely the earlier human adolescents begin drinking, it is unclear why the early onset of drinking occurs in the first place. A review of experimental studies with animals complemented by clinical, epidemiologic and experimental studies with humans supports the idea that precipitating conditions for ethanol abuse occur well before adolescence, in terms of very early exposure to ethanol as a fetus or infant. Experimental studies with animals indicate, accordingly, that ethanol intake during adolescence or adulthood is potentiated by much earlier exposure to ethanol as a fetus or infant.
METHODS: Two broad theoretical frameworks are suggested to explain the increase in affinity for ethanol that follows very early exposure to ethanol, one based on effects of mere exposure and the other on associative conditioning. Studied for 50 years or more in several areas of psychology, "effects of mere exposure" refers to enhanced preference expressed for flavors, or just about any stimuli, that are relatively familiar. An alternative framework, in terms of associative conditioning, is guided by this working hypothesis: During ethanol exposure the fetus or infant acquires an association between ethanol's orosensory (odor/taste) and pharmacological consequences, causing the animal subsequently to seek out ethanol's odor and taste.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: The implication that ethanol has rewarding consequences for the fetus or young infant is supported by recent evidence with perinatal rats. Paradoxically, several studies have shown that such early exposure to ethanol may in some circumstances make the infant treat ethanol-related events as aversive, and yet enhanced intake of ethanol in adolescence is nevertheless a consequence. Alternative interpretations of this paradox are considered among the varied circumstances of early ethanol exposure that lead subsequently to increased affinity for ethanol.
Norman E Spear; Juan C Molina
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research     Volume:  29     ISSN:  0145-6008     ISO Abbreviation:  Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res.     Publication Date:  2005 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-06-24     Completed Date:  2005-10-05     Revised Date:  2014-03-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7707242     Medline TA:  Alcohol Clin Exp Res     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  909-29     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects,  epidemiology*
Alcoholism / epidemiology*,  psychology
Association Learning / physiology
Child Development / drug effects*,  physiology
Conditioning (Psychology) / physiology
Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
Ethanol / adverse effects*,  poisoning
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / epidemiology,  psychology
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
Smell / physiology
Taste / physiology
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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