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Long-Term Consequences of Developmental Alcohol Exposure on Brain Structure and Function: Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity
Department of Psychology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 October 2012; in revised form: 1 December 2012 / Accepted: 10 December 2012 / Published: 21 December 2012
Abstract: Developmental alcohol exposure both early in life and during adolescence can have a devastating impact on normal brain structure and functioning, leading to behavioral and cognitive impairments that persist throughout the lifespan. This review discusses human work as well as animal models used to investigate the effect of alcohol exposure at various time points during development, as well as specific behavioral and neuroanatomical deficits caused by alcohol exposure. Further, cellular and molecular mediators contributing to these alcohol-induced changes are examined, such as neurotrophic factors and apoptotic markers. Next, this review seeks to support the use of aerobic exercise as a potential therapeutic intervention for alcohol-related impairments. To date, few interventions, behavioral or pharmacological, have been proven effective in mitigating some alcohol-related deficits. Exercise is a simple therapy that can be used across species and also across socioeconomic status. It has a profoundly positive influence on many measures of learning and neuroplasticity; in particular, those measures damaged by alcohol exposure. This review discusses current evidence that exercise may mitigate damage caused by developmental alcohol exposure and is a promising therapeutic target for future research and intervention strategies.
Keywords: fetal alcohol; adolescence; animal model; plasticity; hippocampus; prefrontal cortex; apoptosis; neurotrophins
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Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Klintsova, A.Y.; Hamilton, G.F.; Boschen, K.E. Long-Term Consequences of Developmental Alcohol Exposure on Brain Structure and Function: Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity. Brain Sci. 2013, 3, 1-38.
Klintsova AY, Hamilton GF, Boschen KE. Long-Term Consequences of Developmental Alcohol Exposure on Brain Structure and Function: Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity. Brain Sciences. 2013; 3(1):1-38.
Klintsova, Anna Y.; Hamilton, Gillian F.; Boschen, Karen E. 2013. "Long-Term Consequences of Developmental Alcohol Exposure on Brain Structure and Function: Therapeutic Benefits of Physical Activity." Brain Sci. 3, no. 1: 1-38.