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Inattention and impulsivity associated with prenatal alcohol exposure in a prospective cohort study with 11-years-old Brazilian children

Abstract

This paper aimed to examine prenatal alcohol exposure and neuropsychological parameters and its relationship to impulsivity and inattention. Longitudinal prospective case–control cohort study starting with the risk drinking assessment of 449 third-trimester pregnant women, and a follow-up phase with 56 mother–child pairs (28 alcohol-exposed versus 28 non-exposed), with 11–12 years old children. The cohort study was followed up for 11 years. Quantity-frequency structured questions as well as AUDIT and T-ACE questionnaires were used to assess maternal alcohol consumption. A comprehensive set of neuropsychological testing instruments was used, including d2 Test, RCFT, RAVLT, WISC-III, among others. To control low IQ effects and intellectual disability diagnoses, as well differences in school skills biasing the neuropsychological comparison assessment, children with IQ <70 or learning disabilities were excluded of the sample. The two groups showed to be very comparable regarding sex, age, schooling, global IQ, laterality and maternal and social risk factors. Significant statistical differences were found for higher speed processing, total errors, and number of omission errors in the d2 Test. Likewise, there were differences found on RCFT test (lower scores for copy, immediate and delayed recall), and on semantic verbal fluency tests with a lower score. Prenatal alcohol-exposed children seems to be more inattentive and impulsive; they have poorer skills in verbal fluency, visuospatial working memory, and executive processing when compared to non-exposed children who were part of the same cohort sample.

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Acknowledgments

CAPES Foundation (Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, Ministry of Education) provided a PhD Grant for Sarah Teófilo de Sá Roriz.

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Correspondence to Erikson Felipe Furtado.

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Furtado, E.F., Roriz, S.T.d. Inattention and impulsivity associated with prenatal alcohol exposure in a prospective cohort study with 11-years-old Brazilian children. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry 25, 1327–1335 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-016-0857-y

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-016-0857-y

Keywords

  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Neuropsychological assessment
  • Prospective cohort study
  • Inattention
  • Impulsivity