Shapiro, Z.R., Kable, J.A., Grant, T.M., Stoner, S.A., Coles, C.D. and (2023), Prenatal alcohol exposure and cognition at midlife: Evidence of fluid cognition deficits in two cohorts. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Accepted Author Manuscript. https://doi.org/10.1111/acer.15177
Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) impacts cognition in childhood and early adulthood. Here we evaluate the cognitive abilities of middle-aged adults with and without a history of PAE.
Participants (N=200) were recruited from longitudinal cohorts in the Atlanta and Seattle metropolitan areas and completed measures comprising the NIH Toolbox’s Fluid Cognition Composite.
We found that PAE was associated with lower Fluid Cognition Summary scores and lower Dimensional Change Card Sort and Flanker task subtest scores after accounting for potentially confounding demographic variables using propensity scores, as well as the effects of study site. When we evaluated the effects of PAE with and without dysmorphic physical features, we found middle-aged adults in both groups had lower Fluid Cognition scores than non-PAE controls. However, only the presence of PAE with dysmorphic features was associated with lower performance on the Dimensional Change Card Sort Test and Flanker tasks.
While all those with PAE had lower fluid cognition, individuals with PAE and dysmorphic features also exhibited specific deficits in their performance on measures of inhibition, attention, and cognitive flexibility. In conclusion, we find that PAE is associated with ongoing cognitive deficits in middle adulthood, and these can be observed most clearly among those individuals with dysmorphic features.
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