By Briana White
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A new study conducted by doctors at Loyola University suggests that your college binge drinking could not only affect your health — but also the health your unborn children.
The study, based on an animal model, found that teenage binge drinking by either the mother or father could alter multiple genes in the brains of their children.
Furthermore, when both parents were exposed to binge drinking, the number of altered genes in the brains of their children almost doubled.
They study was conducted on a group of adolescent male and female rats who were given excess amounts of alcohol. When the rats sobered up, they mated and the female rats remained sober for the entire pregnancy in order to rule out any effects of fetal alcohol syndrome.
According to the study, researchers found that the binge drinking altered the on-off switches of multiple genes in the brains of the offspring. Researchers say that these switches control physical and behavioral traits including reproduction, response to stress, and food intake. They study found that genes in the offspring that were normally turned on were turned off, and vice versa.
It is important to note that even though the study is based on an animal model, there are significant similarities to the human model including their metabolism of alcohol, the function of the hypothalamus, and the pattern and amount of binge drinking.