Catherine Lebel1, Eric Kan2, Sarah Mattson3, Edward Riley3, Kenneth Jones4, Colleen Adnams5, Philip May6, Mary O'Connor7, Katherine Narr1, Elizabeth Sowell, 12
1Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States; 2Children's Hospital Los Angeles, CA, United States; 3Psychology, San Diego State University, CA, United States; 4Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego, CA, United States; 5Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, South Africa; 6Nutrition, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, United States; 7Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Children and youth prenatally exposed to alcohol demonstrate structural brain abnormalities compared to controls, but it is not clear whether these abnormalities change over time. In the first longitudinal study of cortical development, we demonstrate several brain regions with different developmental trajectories between alcohol-exposed subjects and controls, mainly in the parietal lobe. In general, subjects with prenatal alcohol exposure demonstrated less overall volume change, suggesting decreased cortical plasticity compared to controls. These results are important to consider in studies of group differences, which may change over time, and also are relevant for treatment and interventions in this population.