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Mental Health Infants Exposed to Alcohol in the Womb have Altered Brain Function

logo-counselheal-mdBy Cheri Cheng

During pregnancy, women have to be extra careful about what they put into their bodies. Substances, such as alcohol and drugs, can negatively impact the development of the fetus. In a new study, the first of its kind, researchers from the Saban Research Institute of Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, CA, examined the brain function of infants born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD). They found that children that were exposed to alcohol in the womb exhibited weaker brain activation when they were performing certain cognitive tasks.

“Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to observe brain activity during mental tasks in children with FASD, but we are the first to utilize these techniques to look at brain activation over time,” stated Prapti Gautam, PhD according to the press release. “We wanted to see if the differences in brain activation between children with FASD and their healthy peers were static, or if they changed as children got older.”

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