Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Alfredo Bolaños - New York University
Co-Author(s): Brian Coffman and Julia Stephen, The Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM Piyadasa Kodituwakku, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
Individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol may develop fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), which is characterized by a broad range of cognitive and behavioral deficits along with functional and structural neural anomalies. Previous studies suggest that basic sensory deficits in individuals with FASD may contribute to deficits in sensorimotor integration. Results also show atypical development of parietal and frontal cortical networks in individuals with FASD, two lobes that are critical to the performance during an antisaccade task. Both cerebellar and cortical areas comprise the eye gaze network. Animal studies have demonstrated that prenatal alcohol exposure leads to cerebellar hypoplasia and human studies of children with FASD show reduced brain volume, particularly in cerebellar regions. The current study investigated the neurophysiology of the eye gaze network during an antisaccade task in adolescents with FASD compared to age-matched healthy controls (HC) using the Elekta Neuromag 306 channel magnetoencephalography (MEG). We hypothesized a difference in cerebellar, parietal, or frontal evoked response amplitude between the FASD group and HC group during antisaccades. The antisaccade task requires a saccade to the opposite visual hemifield relative to a suddenly appearing target stimulus. Eye movement was recorded and synchronized to the MEG data using an SR Research MEG-compatible eye tracker. MEG data were filtered and head movement compensation was implemented using Maxfilter. The MEG data were analyzed relative to the onset of the target. Source modeling through spatio-temporal multidipole analysis was performed on the averaged evoked response to target stimuli for correct trials. Individuals with FASD showed a significant increase in peak amplitude after target stimulus presentation in three regions of the brain (cerebellum, inferior parietal lobule, and supplementary eye field) compared to HC. However, behavioral performance on the task did not differ by group. These findings suggest that individuals with FASD exhibit greater activity within the cerebellum, supplementary eye field, and parietal cortex during performance of antisaccades, which may suggest increased effort. Further investigation is needed to understand the role of cerebellum in the eye gaze network to elucidate sensorimotor integration deficits in children with FASD.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): This project was supported in part by NSF-EPSCOR-1539067, NIH P20 AA017068, P20 AA017068S1, and 1P50AA022534-01.
Faculty Advisor: Julia Stephen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: Data curation, data analysis, and interpretation of results.