Lin Gao et al showed evidence revealing the biological changes in the brain that drive foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). Researchers found that teenagers who were exposed to alcohol while in the womb showed altered brain connections that were consistent with impaired cognitive performance. The study employed a new time-varying connectivity approach to detect the fast-changing information flow in the brain source using a brain imaging technique called magnetoencephalogram data. The research evaluated 19 teenage subjects with prenatal alcohol exposure and 21 healthy control teenage subjects. The researchers demonstrated that the inter-hemispheric connectivity was deficient for subjects with prenatal alcohol exposure and that can disrupt the cognitive performance and lead to neurobehavioral deficits. The study correlated the observed disruption in inter-hemispheric connectivity with the cognitive deficits associated with FASD, suggesting a new potential biomarker for the disorder. The findings thus suggest that there is no safe amount or safe stages during pregnancy for alcohol consumption.
Source: Chaos 29, 041101 (2019); 02 April 2019 https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5089527