, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 61-80,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 12 Mar 2009

Functional magnetic resonance imaging outcomes from a comprehensive magnetic resonance study of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders


A comprehensive neuropsychological/psychiatric, MR imaging, (MRI), MR spectroscopy (MRS), and functional MRI (fMRI) assessment was administered to children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) to determine if global and/or focal abnormalities could be identified, and distinguish diagnostic subclassifications across the spectrum. The four study groups included: 1. FAS/Partial FAS; 2. Static Encephalopathy/Alcohol Exposed (SE/AE); 3. Neurobehavioral Disorder/Alcohol Exposed (ND/AE); and 4. healthy peers with no prenatal alcohol exposure. fMRI outcomes are reported here. The neuropsychological/psychiatric, MRI, and MRS outcomes are reported separately. fMRI was used to assess activation in seven brain regions during performance of N-back working memory tasks. Children across the full spectrum of FASD exhibited significant working memory deficits and altered activation patterns in brain regions that are known to be involved in working memory. These results demonstrate the potential research and diagnostic value of this non-invasive MR tool in the field of FASD.