Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) caused by the impact of alcohol on young embryos can be halted by vitamin A, suggests Abraham Fainsod, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The professor of genetics and biochemistry claims that the vitamin could be the therapy to offset the serious damage caused by alcohol especially during the crucial period when the head and central nervous system is developing. He does admit, however, that there is a need for continuing research.
This is possible since the University of Manitoba has pledged $750,000 to set up a joint FASD research consortium with the Hebrew University.
Fainsod's research on frogs has established that alcohol inhibits the conversion of vitamin A to retinoic acid that is needed for cell development and revitalization. This, in effect, damages the normal development of head and brain cells.
Hence, the logical strategy would be to add more vitamin A so that the damage done can be reversed. But the vitamin cannot be considered as an excuse to drink as the danger is too much of vitamin A can also cause birth defects unless the right balance is maintained.
The continuing research by the partnership between the two universities would be done on mice as they are the model for mammals.