Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Social Sciences/Psychology/Economics
Alfredo D. Bolanos - University of New Mexico
Co-Author(s): Brian A. Coffman, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA John F. L. Pinner and Piyadasa Kodituwakku, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM Julia M. Stephen, The Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM
It is now known that children exposed to substantial amounts of alcohol in utero display a broad range of cognitive and behavioral deficits along with functional and structural neural anomalies. Children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) have impairments in sensory processing and executive functioning, suggesting atypical brain development. Here, we measure brain responses using magnetoencephalography (MEG) during passive auditory (A- left and right monaural 1000 Hz tone), somatosensory (S- air puff stimulus to left and right index finger), and multisensory (synchronous A/S) stimulation from 19 adolescents with FASD and 23 age-matched, typically developing controls. We employed a cross-hemisphere multisensory paradigm (left A/left S, LA/RS, RA/RS and RA/LS) to assess hemispheric connectivity deficits in children with FASD. Based on the role of neural oscillations in multisensory integration, we hypothesized that neural oscillations would be altered in adolescents with FASD. Time-frequency analysis of the MEG data revealed a significant decrease in gamma oscillatory power for four conditions in the FASD group relative to controls, based on permutation testing of significant group differences. Gamma power was increased for one cluster of sensors within the LA/RS condition in the FASD group relative to controls. Also, an increase in beta band power was noted in the FASD group compared to the control group, for two multisensory conditions. Through one-sample t-tests we noted that the formerly reported between-group differences in multisensory conditions were accompanied by a significant within-group change in oscillatory power. Furthermore, results revealed that unisensory oscillatory power predicted multisensory oscillatory power more strongly in the control group than in the FASD group. Yet, oscillatory power only correlated with attention and impulsivity scores in the FASD group. The present results provide further evidence of abnormal gamma band oscillations in adolescents with FASD when responding to sensory stimuli. Differential response to left vs. right auditory stimuli may indicate hemispheric differences in neural activity related to prenatal alcohol exposure. It is possible that altered oscillations reflect a restricted ability to process somatosensory and multisensory stimuli during day-to-day interactions. These alterations in neural oscillations may be associated with the neurobehavioral deficits experienced by individuals with FASD.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): We would like to thank all of the participants and their parents for their willingness to contribute their time to this study. The study was supported in part by the following grants PREP: R25 GM075149 (NIH/NIGMS), NIH P20AA017068, P20AA017068-03S1, 1P50AA022534-01.
Faculty Advisor: Julia M. Stephen, firstname.lastname@example.org