Dads' drinking is also linked to birth defects

UCLA Study: No Evidence Linking Anti-Nausea Drug Zofran To Birth Defects

Women are routinely assailed with messages about how to not mess up their potential future children. Don't wait too long to get pregnant! Don't drink a drop of alcohol! Take your pre-natal vitamins! (No don't. No, wait, do!) So much of this advice seems to treat all women as, above all else, inevitable baby-carrying devices. And so, forgive our admittedly impolite relief that a new study has found a link between birth defects and a fathers' age, lifestyle and alcohol use.

More from Vocativ: AMC Hopes Snapchat Can Make 'Preacher' Its Next Hit

"We know the nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring," said researcher Joanna Kitlinska of Georgetown University Medical Center. "But our study shows the same thing to be true with fathers—his lifestyle, and how old he is, can be reflected in molecules that control gene function." She added, "In this way, a father can affect not only his immediate offspring, but future generations as well."

RELATED: Celebrity dads with their kids

Celeb dads with their kids
See Gallery
Dads' drinking is also linked to birth defects
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL - SEPTEMBER 13: (ISRAEL OUT) Ricky Martin and his kids as they exit his private jet plane in Israel Airport on September 13, 2016 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Photo by Guy Prives/Getty Images)
WESTWOOD, CA - JULY 28: Actor Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka and kids Harper Grace and Gideon Scott arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Smurfs 2' at Regency Village Theatre on July 28, 2013 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
US actors Ashton Kutcher and his wife Mila Kunis attend the diving competition at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, on July 17, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / STRINGER (Photo credit should read STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 24: Actor Chris Pratt and son Jack attend Monster Jam Celebrity Event at Angel Stadium on February 24, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ari Perilstein/Getty Images for Feld Entertainment)
ASHEVILLE, NC - FEBRUARY 11: Serena Williams' husband Alexis Ohanian (C) holds baby Alexis Olympia during the first round of the 2018 Fed Cup at US Cellular Center on February 11, 2018 in Asheville, North Carolina. (Photo by Richard Shiro/Getty Images)
VENICE, ITALY - AUGUST 30: Bradley Cooper, Irina Shayk and their daughter Lea are seen arriving at the 75th Venice Film Festival on August 30, 2018 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Photopix/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 16: (L-R) Romeo Beckham, Harper Beckham and David Beckham attend the Burberry 'London in Los Angeles' event at Griffith Observatory on April 16, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/Getty Images for Burberry)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 08: David Beckham and son Romeo Beckham attend day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 8, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29: Actor Will Smith and son Actor Jaden Smith attend the 'After Earth' premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on May 29, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jennifer Graylock/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 09: Ben Affleck is seen with his daughter Violet Anne Affleck on February 09, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by GONZALO/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 17: Tom Cruise and Suri Cruise are seen leaving chelsea piers at Streets of Manhattan on July 17, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic)
Actor Brad Pitt and children Pax Jolie-Pitt (L), Shiloh Jolie-Pitt (C) and Maddox Jolie-Pitt arrive for the U.S. premiere of Universal Pictures 'Unbroken,' December 15, 2014 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 30: Brad Pitt and his son Knox Jolie-Pitt attend the MotoGP British Grand Prix race at Silverstone ahead of the release of documentary Hitting The Apex. Pitt is presenting the film, which is out in cinemas 2nd September and on DVD 7th September at Silverstone Circuit on August 30, 2015 in Northampton, England (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Actor Peter Facinelli (c) and daughters Luca Bella Facinelli (r) and Lola Ray Facinelli (L) arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 18: Actor Hugh Jackman and Ava Eliot Jackman are seen on scooters in Soho on October 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Raymond Hall/FilmMagic)
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 21: Usher (R) and his son, Usher Raymond V, attend Usher's New Look Foundation - World Leadership Conference & Awards 2011 - Day 2 at Cobb Galleria on July 21, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Chris McKay/Getty Images for Usher's New Look Foundation)
Johnny Depp & Wife Vanessa Paradis Take Their Two Children For A Picnic In A London Park. (Photo by Antony Jones/UK Press via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 04: Jon Stewart and son Nathan Thomas Stewart attend the Cleveland Cavaliers vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on March 4, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 15: Musician Tim McGraw, left, performs with his daughter Gracie McGraw on the 'Shotgun Rider' tour at Bridgestone Arena on August 15, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for Big Machine Records)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 03: Will Ferrell and his son attend a basketball game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Will Ferrell and his son Axel Ferrell attend a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on February 23, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/GC Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 21: Honoree Matthew McConaughey (R) accepts the American Cinematheque Award with Vida Alves McConaughey (L) onstage at the 28th American Cinematheque Award honoring Matthew McConaughey at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on October 21, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 25: Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Meyer with their children Ruby Maguire and Otis Maguire are seen on January 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 20: Actor Jack Black (C) with sons Thomas and Samuel attend the Milk + Bookies Second Annual Reading Room Sponsored By Children's Book Of The Month Club at Skirball Cultural Center on March 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/WireImage)
ASCOT, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 31: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Chris Hemsworth and daughter India Rose Hemsworth attend day 2 of the Audi Polo Challenge at Coworth Park on May 31, 2015 in Ascot, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Blue Ivy Carter, recording artists Jay Z and Beyonce speak onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by MTV/MTV1415/Getty Images for MTV)

The study, published in American Journal of Stem Cells, has reviewed reams of research—on both humans and animals—and found growing evidence for the importance of the other half of the baby-making equation. The paper looks specifically at heritable epigenetic programming, which is a fancy way of saying "the way the environment influences the expression of genes across generations."

More from Vocativ: NASA Just Funded A New Batch Of Insane Projects

Researchers found a correlation between advanced paternal age and higher rates of schizophrenia, autism, and birth defects among his kids. Fathers' alcohol use was linked to lower birth weight and brain size, and reduced cognitive function, all of which are symptoms of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Then there was paternal obesity, which was associated with enlarged fat cells, diabetes, and obesity among offspring. Even a dad's psychosocial stress is tied to "behavioral defects" in the next generation.

More from Vocativ: The Australian Olympic Team Is Getting Zika-Proof Condoms

So, perhaps it isn't just women who should be worrying about their about ticking biological clocks—not to mention how their personal choices impact their offspring. That said, more research has to be done before the link between fathers and birth defects can be translated into practical advice for wannabe dads. And, as Kitlinska points out, the takeaway here is that both parents are critically important to the health of their baby. "To really understand the epigenetic influences of a child," she said, "we need to study the interplay between maternal and paternal effects, as opposed to considering each in isolation."

The post Dads' Drinking Is Also Linked To Birth Defects appeared first on Vocativ.

Read Full Story