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Brain Sci. 2018, 8(1), 7; doi:10.3390/brainsci8010007

Preliminary Findings that a Targeted Intervention Leads to Altered Brain Function in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

1
Psychiatry Department, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G1X8, Canada
2
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON M4G1R8, Canada
3
Bloorview Research Institute, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, ON M4G1R8, Canada
4
Neurosciences and Mental Health Program, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON M5G1A0, Canada
5
Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5G1X8, Canada
6
Psychology Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S3G3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 November 2017 / Revised: 14 December 2017 / Accepted: 22 December 2017 / Published: 28 December 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alcohol Induced Central Nervous System Damage)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1585 KB, uploaded 28 December 2017]   |  

Abstract

Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) exhibit behavioral dysregulation, executive dysfunction, and atypical function in associated brain regions. Previous research shows early intervention mitigates these outcomes but corresponding brain changes were not studied. Given the Alert® Program for Self-Regulation improves behavioral regulation and executive function in children with FASD, we asked if this therapy also improves their neural functioning in associated regions. Twenty-one children with FASD aged 8–12 years were randomized to the Alert®-treatment (TXT; n = 10) or waitlist-control (WL; n = 11) conditions. They were assessed with a Go-NoGo functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) paradigm before and after training or the wait-out period. Groups initially performed equivalently and showed no fMRI differences. At post-test, TXT outperformed WL on NoGo trials while fMRI in uncorrected results with a small-volume correction showed less activation in prefrontal, temporal, and cingulate regions. Groups also demonstrated different patterns of change over time reflecting reduced signal at post-test in selective prefrontal and parietal regions in TXT and increased in WL. In light of previous evidence indicating TXT at post-test perform similar to non-exposed children on the Go-NoGo fMRI paradigm, our findings suggest Alert® does improve functional integrity in the neural circuitry for behavioral regulation in children with FASD. View Full-Text
Keywords: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; self-regulation training; executive functioning; inhibitory control; fMRI; Alert® Program for Self-Regulation; neural correlates fetal alcohol spectrum disorder; self-regulation training; executive functioning; inhibitory control; fMRI; Alert® Program for Self-Regulation; neural correlates
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nash, K.; Stevens, S.; Clairman, H.; Rovet, J. Preliminary Findings that a Targeted Intervention Leads to Altered Brain Function in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 7.

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