Alcohol in pregnancy may give kids a taste for booze

Alcohol may taste sweeter if you were exposed to it before birth, suggests a study in rats. The findings may shed new light on why human studies have previously linked fetal alcohol exposure to increased alcohol abuse later in life, and to a lower age at which a person first starts drinking alcohol.

Alcohol’s taste is a mixture of sweet and bitter components. To test whether prenatal alcohol exposure could affect the perception of these components, Steven Youngentob at the State University of New York in Syracuse and John Glendinning at Columbia University in New York measured how avidly rats consumed ethanol, sweet water or bitter water.

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