A review of the neurobehavioral deficits in children with fetal alcohol syndrome or prenatal exposure to alcohol

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1998 Apr;22(2):279-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1998.tb03651.x.


Fetal alcohol syndrome is a devastating developmental disorder caused by prenatal exposure to high amounts of alcohol. In addition to structural abnormalities and growth deficits, fetal alcohol syndrome is associated with a broad spectrum of neurobehavioral anomalies. This paper reviews the behavioral and cognitive effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. More than 20 years of research are discussed, with a focus on IQ, activity, attention, learning, memory, language, motor, and visuospatial abilities in children prenatally exposed to varying amounts of alcohol, including those with fetal alcohol syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / psychology
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence / drug effects
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Pregnancy