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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Neuropsychological and Behavioral Features

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Abstract

Heavy prenatal alcohol exposure can cause alterations to the developing brain. The resulting neurobehavioral deficits seen following this exposure are wide-ranging and potentially devastating and, therefore, are of significant concern to individuals, families, communities, and society. These effects occur on a continuum, and qualitatively similar neuropsychological and behavioral features are seen across the spectrum of effect. The term fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) has been used to emphasize the continuous nature of the outcomes of prenatal alcohol exposure, with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) representing one point on the spectrum. This paper will provide a comprehensive review of the neuropsychological and behavioral effects of heavy prenatal alcohol exposure, including a discussion of the emerging neurobehavioral profile. Supporting studies of lower levels of exposure, brain-behavior associations, and animal model systems will be included when appropriate.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank the members of the Center for Behavioral Teratology and the families who graciously participate in our studies. Preparation of this paper supported by NIAAA Grants R01 AA019605, R01 AA010417, U01 AA014834, T32 AA013525, and F31 AA020142.

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The authors have no financial relationship to the organization that sponsored the research.

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Mattson, S.N., Crocker, N. & Nguyen, T.T. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: Neuropsychological and Behavioral Features. Neuropsychol Rev 21, 81–101 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11065-011-9167-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11065-011-9167-9

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