Neuropsychology Review

, 21:148

Biobehavioral Markers of Adverse Effect in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

  • Sandra W. Jacobson
  • Joseph L. Jacobson
  • Mark E. Stanton
  • Ernesta M. Meintjes
  • Christopher D. Molteno
Review

DOI: 10.1007/s11065-011-9169-7

Cite this article as:
Jacobson, S.W., Jacobson, J.L., Stanton, M.E. et al. Neuropsychol Rev (2011) 21: 148. doi:10.1007/s11065-011-9169-7

Abstract

Identification of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) is difficult because information regarding prenatal exposure is often lacking, a large proportion of affected children do not exhibit facial anomalies, and no distinctive behavioral phenotype has been identified. Castellanos and Tannock have advocated going beyond descriptive symptom-based approaches to diagnosis to identify biomarkers derived from cognitive neuroscience. Classical eyeblink conditioning and magnitude comparison are particularly promising biobehavioral markers of FASD—eyeblink conditioning because a deficit in this elemental form of learning characterizes a very large proportion of alcohol-exposed children; magnitude comparison because it is a domain of higher order cognitive function that is among the most sensitive to fetal alcohol exposure. Because the neural circuitry mediating both these biobehavioral markers is well understood, they have considerable potential for advancing understanding of the pathophysiology of FASD, which can contribute to development of treatments targeted to the specific deficits that characterize this disorder.

Keywords

Fetal alcohol syndrome Eyeblink conditioning Arithmetic Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders Biomarkers Behavioral phenotype Prenatal alcohol exposure 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra W. Jacobson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Joseph L. Jacobson
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Mark E. Stanton
    • 4
  • Ernesta M. Meintjes
    • 2
    • 5
  • Christopher D. Molteno
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeurosciencesWayne State University School of MedicineDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA
  5. 5.MRC/UCT Medical Imaging Research UnitUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa