The most well-known condition is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), which is characterized by the symptom triad that includes a dysmorphic face, growth retardation, and diverse cognitive and behavioral impairments (Stratton et al. 1996). Two relatively less common disorders are partial FAS (pFAS) with some but not all of the FAS features and alcohol-related birth defects with only physical abnormalities. Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical However, the most prevalent form of FASD
is alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND; Stoler and Holmes 1999; Riley and McGee 2005), which involves only cognitive and behavioral features (Stratton et al. 1996; Chudley et al. 2005) and lacks any of the physical stigmata. Nevertheless, ARND still involves a high risk of poor outcome and significant challenges for families and educators and it poses a major public health burden (Chudley et al. 2007) and high cost to society Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical (Lupton et al. 2004; Stade et al. 2006). Because alcohol has neurotoxic effects on the brain throughout gestation, children with FASD show diverse brain abnormalities regardless
of etiology. A large body of literature has substantiated Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical global brain volume reductions (Archibald et al. 2001; Astley et al. 2009; Norman et al. 2009) with specific reductions in parietal, temporal, and frontal lobes (Sowell et al. 2002; Spadoni et al. 2007; Bjorkquist et al. 2010; for a review see Lebel et al. 2011), and in the caudate (Cortese et al. 2006), hippocampus (Riikonen Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical et al. 1999, 2005; Autti-Ramo et al. 2002; Willoughby et al. 2008; Coles et al. 2011), and cerebellum (Sowell et al. 1996). Likewise, children with FASD show cortical and subcortical grey matter reductions (Astley et al. 2009; Nardelli
et al. 2011), white matter abnormalities (Lebel et al. 2008; Staurosporine concentration Wozniak et al. 2009), and structural abnormalities of the corpus callosum (Riley et al. 1995; Autti-Ramo et al. 2002). In most studies to date, samples have either comprised mixed FASD subgroups (Lebel et al. 2008; Wozniak et al. 2009) or Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical directly compared individual subgroups (Astley et al. 2009). Few if any studies have examined the ARND subtype exclusively, despite its prevalence and recognition as a distinct neurodevelopmental disorder (NIAAA 2011). As children with ARND lack specific physical markers, diagnosis of this disorder is often difficult, until especially given frequent comorbidities with other neurodevelopmental disorders and influences of other adverse events including poverty, neglect, and poor nutrition. Thus, brain biomarkers of prenatal alcohol exposure may facilitate diagnosis. One such biomarker is cortical morphology, which is shown to be abnormal in distinct brain regions in various other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., Almedia et al. 2010; Raznahan et al. 2010; Duerden et al. 2012), as well as FASD (e.g., Sowell et al. 2008).