Our Newsletter

Neurodevelopment, Genetics and Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol


The theme of this collaborative initiative is a cross-cultural assessment of FASD. The Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD) will coordinate basic, behavioral and clinical investigators in a multidisciplinary research project to better inform approaches aimed at developing effective intervention and treatment for FASD. Input and contributions will come from basic researchers, behavioral scientists, and clinical investigators who are willing to utilize novel and cutting edge techniques, not simply to replicate previous or ongoing work, but rather to move the field forward in a rigorous fashion. We believe that a first step in developing effective interventions and treatments is to definitively outline a diagnostic schema so that the full range of effects from prenatal exposure to large or moderate amounts of alcohol can be determined.

The goal of this consortium is to bring together researchers from around the world who are conducting research on FASD or interested in the global problem of FASD and who have the capabilities and resources to utilize international samples to further knowledge in this area. Advances in science often require the appropriate technological, social and cultural climates to foster those advances. Studies that could not be conducted in any one site due to lack of subject numbers or given expertise, become possible in collaborative efforts such as those proposed here.

This multi-site, cross-sectional study with typically developing children aims to explore the genetic basis of individual differences in brain structure and cognition.  As part of this study, we collect brain images, neurocognitive data and saliva samples from all participants. Data collected as part of this study is collated with data from eight other sites, with the intention of creating a database with which the scientific community can further investigate how genetic variations might contribute to or alter brain and cognitive development.

How does the size and shape of the brain change as a result of exposure to alcohol before birth?

Does the brain work differently in children and adolescents who were exposed to alcohol before birth compared to children who were not?

These questions are at the heart of our current study.

tumblr_inline_nbp46aoa5O1szl4paWould you like your child to participate in CIFASD?

Dr. Elizabeth Sowell at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and investigators across the country are conducting a study to help figure out how a a brain develops throughout childhood. In this study, you will take a computer test, and we will take pictures of your brain through a non-invasive MRI scan.



You or your child may be eligible if:

• Have history exposure to large quantities of alcohol before birth
• Age ranges between 10-16 years

Who to contact: Trinh T. Luu, MA | Project Coordinator | Ph: 323.361.7756 | brainstudy@chla.usc.edu