Spatial locations gone awry: Object and spatial memory deficits in children with fetal alcohol syndrome

Anne Uecker, Lynn Nadel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hippocampus vulnerability following gestational alcohol exposure has been demonstrated neuroanatomically and behaviorally in animal models of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). There have been no similar demonstrations in humans. The Smith and Milner (1981) Memory for 16 Objects task has been used to explore the effects of right vs left temporal lobectomy with varying degrees of damage to the hippocampus. In the present experiment, this same task was administered to 15 children with FAS (mean age 10.03, S.D. = 2.33) and 15 control children (mean age 10.02, S.D. = 2.31). Similar to patients with right temporal lobectomies and a large excision to the hippocampus, children with FAS were able to perform immediate but not delayed object recall, had a general spatial memory deficit (P < 0.05), and significantly distorted the spatial array (P < 0.05). Although these results are consistent with an interpretation of hippocampal dysfunction, gestational alcohol exposure is known to result in a wide-ranging spectrum of neuropsychological deficits that vary in both extent and severity. Visuospatial deficits on the Beery test of Visuomotor Integration and Clock Drawing are suggestive of the other neural regions that may be involved in producing the behavioral deficits in children with FAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-223
Number of pages15
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1996

Keywords

  • Fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Hippocampus
  • Spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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