Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Neuropsychological Assessment of Children

Summary

Principal Investigator: SARAH MATTSON
Affiliation: San Diego State University
Country: USA
Abstract: The effects of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure reach beyond the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and can result in a complex pattern of neurodevelopmental disorders. Although the precise nature of this pattern is not well defined, current research is progressing toward this end. Similarly, brain imaging studies point to a pattern of effects in the brain structure of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure with some structures affected to a greater degree than others. The current application proposes studies based on recent neuropsychological and neuroanatomical studies of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure. The proposed studies are aimed at clarifying three important functional comparisons: "what" vs. "where" visuospatial processing, "global" vs. "local" hierarchical visuospatial processing, and "disengaging" vs. "shifting" of visual attention. These areas have been linked to the parietal lobe, an area of the brain affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. Although previous studies of individuals with brain damage have assessed these three areas separately, the research proposed herein aims to assess the three domains in one population. First, assessment of "what-where" visuospatial functioning will be conducted using computerized and traditional tests. Based on preliminary data, relative weaknesses in "where" processing are predicted. Second, assessment of global-local processing will be conducted using tests of both recall and potential biasing effects of hierarchical figures. Based on previous research, a relative weakness in local processing is predicted. Finally, assessment of disengaging-shifting of visual attention will be conducted using a classic measure of spatial orienting of attention. Based on both brain imaging studies and previous studies of attentional shifting, a relative weakness in disengagement is predicted. Thus, the proposed series of studies targets three important functional dissociations that are anatomically linked. The underlying rationale and hypotheses for these studies are based on previous neuropsychological and imaging studies. Clarification of these dissociations will help define the profile of weaknesses and strengths in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and help identify core deficits in this population.
Funding Period: 1997-04-07 - 2010-03-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi Evaluation of psychopathological conditions in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Susanna L Fryer
    San Diego State University University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, USA
    Pediatrics 119:e733-41. 2007
  2. pmc Neuropsychological comparison of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and an IQ-matched comparison group
    Linnea Vaurio
    Department of Psychology, Center for Behavioral Teratology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
    J Int Neuropsychol Soc 17:463-73. 2011
  3. pmc Children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure demonstrate deficits on multiple measures of concept formation
    Christie L McGee
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 32:1388-97. 2008
  4. pmc Comparison of verbal learning and memory in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Nicole Crocker
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 35:1114-21. 2011
  5. pmc Cingulate gyrus morphology in children and adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Olivia A Bjorkquist
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
    Psychiatry Res 181:101-7. 2010
  6. pmc BOLD response during spatial working memory in youth with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Andrea D Spadoni
    San Diego State University University of California San Diego, CA 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:2067-76. 2009
  7. pmc Neuroimaging and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Andria L Norman
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
    Dev Disabil Res Rev 15:209-17. 2009
  8. pmc Comparison of adaptive behavior in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Nicole Crocker
    Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:2015-23. 2009
  9. pmc Characterization of white matter microstructure in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Susanna L Fryer
    San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University University of California, San Diego, California, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:514-21. 2009
  10. pmc Differences in executive functioning in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Linnea Vaurio
    Department of Psychology, Center for Behavioral Teratology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
    J Int Neuropsychol Soc 14:119-29. 2008

Scientific Experts

  • Susanna L Fryer
  • E R Sowell
  • SARAH MATTSON
  • Edward P Riley
  • Linnea Vaurio
  • Nicole Crocker
  • Olivia A Bjorkquist
  • Andrea D Spadoni
  • Andria L Norman
  • Christie L McGee
  • Allan L Reiss
  • Alissa D Bazinet
  • Susan F Tapert
  • Tresa M Roebuck-Spencer
  • Amy M Schonfeld

Detail Information

Publications13

  1. ncbi Evaluation of psychopathological conditions in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Susanna L Fryer
    San Diego State University University of California San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, USA
    Pediatrics 119:e733-41. 2007
    ....
  2. pmc Neuropsychological comparison of children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and an IQ-matched comparison group
    Linnea Vaurio
    Department of Psychology, Center for Behavioral Teratology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
    J Int Neuropsychol Soc 17:463-73. 2011
    ..These areas of relative weakness could be useful in distinguishing children with FASD from other children with lowered IQ...
  3. pmc Children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure demonstrate deficits on multiple measures of concept formation
    Christie L McGee
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 32:1388-97. 2008
    ..Children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure have documented impairments in executive functioning (EF). One component of EF, concept formation, has not been well studied in this group...
  4. pmc Comparison of verbal learning and memory in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Nicole Crocker
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 35:1114-21. 2011
    ....
  5. pmc Cingulate gyrus morphology in children and adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Olivia A Bjorkquist
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
    Psychiatry Res 181:101-7. 2010
    ..The observed volumetric reductions in the cingulate gyrus may contribute to the disruptive and emotionally dysregulated behavioral profile commonly observed in this population...
  6. pmc BOLD response during spatial working memory in youth with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Andrea D Spadoni
    San Diego State University University of California San Diego, CA 92120, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:2067-76. 2009
    ..Structural brain abnormalities observed in regions supporting spatial working memory (SWM) may contribute to observed deficits in visuospatial functioning in youth with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs)...
  7. pmc Neuroimaging and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Andria L Norman
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
    Dev Disabil Res Rev 15:209-17. 2009
    ..Continued neuroimaging studies are needed to further advance understanding of the neuroteratogenic effects of alcohol...
  8. pmc Comparison of adaptive behavior in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Nicole Crocker
    Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:2015-23. 2009
    ..Therefore, the aim of the current study was to compare adaptive behavior in children with histories of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure (ALC), nonexposed children with ADHD (ADHD), and typically developing controls (CON)...
  9. pmc Characterization of white matter microstructure in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
    Susanna L Fryer
    San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University University of California, San Diego, California, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 33:514-21. 2009
    ..Exposure to alcohol during gestation is associated with CNS alterations, cognitive deficits, and behavior problems. This study investigated microstructural aspects of putative white matter abnormalities following prenatal alcohol exposure...
  10. pmc Differences in executive functioning in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
    Linnea Vaurio
    Department of Psychology, Center for Behavioral Teratology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California, USA
    J Int Neuropsychol Soc 14:119-29. 2008
    ..These results, which indicate that, although EF deficits occurred in both clinical groups, the degree and pattern of deficit differed between the ALC and ADHD groups, may improve differential diagnosis...
  11. ncbi Prenatal alcohol exposure affects frontal-striatal BOLD response during inhibitory control
    Susanna L Fryer
    Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego State University, University of California, San Diego, California, USA
    Alcohol Clin Exp Res 31:1415-24. 2007
    ..This study characterized the neural substrates underlying the disinhibited behavioral profile of individuals with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD)...
  12. pmc Abnormal cortical thickness and brain-behavior correlation patterns in individuals with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Elizabeth R Sowell
    Laboratory of Neuro Imaging, Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095 7334, USA
    Cereb Cortex 18:136-44. 2008
    ..Further, the significant interactions show for the first time that brain-behavior relationships are altered as a function of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure...
  13. pmc Focused and shifting attention in children with heavy prenatal alcohol exposure
    Sarah N Mattson
    Center for Behavioral Teratology, Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92120, USA
    Neuropsychology 20:361-9. 2006
    ..However, no deficits were noted in the ability to disengage and reengage attention when required to shift attention between visual and auditory stimuli, although reaction times to shift were slower...