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Title: Altered Resting‐State Neural Oscillations and Spectral Power in Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Consumption of alcohol during pregnancy impacts fetal development and may lead to a variety of physical, cognitive, and behavioral abnormalities in childhood collectively known as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The FASD spectrum includes children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial fetal alcohol syndrome (pFAS), and alcohol‐related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND). Children with a FASD or prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) have impaired white matter, reduced structural volumes, impaired resting‐state functional connectivity when measured with fMRI, and spectral hypersynchrony as infants. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) provides high temporal resolution and good spatial precision for examining spectral power and connectivity patterns unique from fMRI. The impact of PAE on MEG resting‐state spectral power in children remains unknown.


We collected 2 minutes of eyes‐open and eyes‐closed resting‐state data in 51 children (8 to 12 years of age) with 3 subgroups included: 10 ARND/PAE, 15 FAS/pFAS, and 26 controls (TDC). MEG data were collected on the Elekta Neuromag system. The following spectral metrics were compared between subgroups: power, normalized power, half power, 95% power, and Shannon spectral entropy (SSE). MEG spectral data were correlated with behavioral measures.


Our results indicate children with FAS/pFAS had reduced spectral power and normalized power, particularly within the alpha frequency band in sensor parietal and source superior parietal and lateral occipital regions, along with elevated half power, 95% power, and SSE. We also found select hemisphere specific effects further indicating reduced corpus callosum connectivity in children with a FASD. Interestingly, while the ARND/PAE subgroup had significant differences from the FAS/pFAS subgroup, in many cases spectral data were not significantly different from TDC.


Our results were consistent with previous studies and provide new insight into resting‐state oscillatory differences both between children with FAS and TDC, and within FASD subgroups. Further understanding of these resting‐state variations and their impact on cognitive function may help provide early targets for intervention and enhance outcomes for individuals with a FASD.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 117-130
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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