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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 1991 Jan-Feb;13(1):49-55.

Prenatal alcohol exposure and sustained attention in the preschool years.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106.


The effects of fetal alcohol exposure on sustained attention in the preschool years were investigated in a sample of socioeconomically disadvantaged urban children. The 245 children examined were the 4-year 10-month-old follow-up cohort of a prospective study begun while their mothers were pregnant. Sustained attention was assessed by an automated, computer-administered vigilance task. Indices of fetal alcohol exposure included three measures of maternal drinking and two early indicators of fetal alcohol damage. The data were analyzed using univariate and multivariate regression techniques, both with and without adjustment for covariates. None of the analyses supported the hypothesis that fetal alcohol exposure adversely affects sustained attention performance in preschool children. We infer that, if there is an effect of prenatal alcohol exposure on vigilance task performance, that effect is small.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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