Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impacts brain development throughout childhood and adolescence not just at birth

Date:
July 31, 2013
Source:
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Summary:
Medical researchers recently published findings showing that brain development is delayed throughout childhood and adolescence for people born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

The highlighted areas show some of the white matter tracts in the brain that the research group studied.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Medical researchers at the University of Alberta recently published findings showing that brain development is delayed throughout childhood and adolescence for people born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Christian Beaulieu and Carmen Rasmussen, the two primary investigators in the research study, recently published the results of their work in the peer-reviewed journal, The Journal of Neuroscience. Their team scanned 17 people with FASD, and 27 people without the disorder, who were between 5 and 15 years old. Each participant underwent two to three scans, with each scan taking place two to four years apart. This is the first research study involving multiple scans of the same FASD study participants.

Researchers used an advanced MRI method that examines white matter in the brain. White matter forms connections between various regions of the brain and usually develops significantly during childhood and adolescence. Those who took part in the study were imaged multiple times, to see what kinds of changes occurred in brain development as the participants aged. Those without the disorder had marked increases in brain volume and white matter -- growth that was lacking in those with FASD. However, the advanced MRI method revealed greater changes in the brain wiring of white matter in the FASD group, which the authors suggest may reflect compensation for delays in development earlier in childhood.

"These findings may suggest that significant brain changes happened earlier in the study participants who didn't have FASD," says the study's first author, Sarah Treit, who is a student in the Centre for Neuroscience at the U of A. "This study suggests alcohol-induced injury with FASD isn't static -- those with FASD have altered brain development, they aren't developing at the same rate as those without the disorder. And our research showed those with FASD consistently scored lower on all cognitive measures in the study."

Treit said the research team also made other important observations. Children with FASD who demonstrated the greatest changes in white matter development also made the greatest gains in reading ability -- "so the connection seems relevant." And those with the most severe FASD showed the greatest changes in white matter brain wiring. Scans also confirmed those with FASD have less overall brain volume -- this issue neither rectified itself nor worsened throughout the course of the study.

Beaulieu is a researcher in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, while Rasmussen works in the Department of Pediatrics. Their research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The team is continuing their research in this area, in hopes of finding a biomarker for FASD, and to examine how the brain changes from adolescence into adulthood in those with the disorder. The advanced MRI imaging the team used can pinpoint brain damage present in those with FASD, and could one day guide medical interventions for those with the disorder, which affects one in every 100 Canadians.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. The original article was written by Raquel Maurier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impacts brain development throughout childhood and adolescence not just at birth." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731152241.htm>.
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. (2013, July 31). Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impacts brain development throughout childhood and adolescence not just at birth. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731152241.htm
University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. "Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder impacts brain development throughout childhood and adolescence not just at birth." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130731152241.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) — Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins