Sensorimotor network alterations in children and youth with prenatal alcohol exposure

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John Wiley & Sons
Children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) often have impaired sensorimotor function. While altered brain structure has been noted in sensorimotor areas, the functional brain alterations remain unclear. This study aims to investigate sensorimotor brain networks in children and youth with PAE using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI). A parcellation-based network analysis was performed to identify brain networks related to hand/lower limb and face/upper limb function in 59 children and youth with PAE and 50 typically developing controls. Participants with PAE and controls had similar organization of the hand and face areas within the primary sensorimotor cortex, but participants with PAE had altered functional connectivity (FC) between the sensorimotor regions and the rest of the brain. The sensorimotor regions in the PAE group showed less connectivity to certain hubs of the default mode network and more connectivity to areas of the salience network. Overall, our results show that despite similar patterns of organization in the sensorimotor network, subjects with PAE have increased FC between this network and other brain areas, perhaps suggesting overcompensation. These alterations in the sensorimotor network lay the foundation for future studies to evaluate interventions and treatments to improve motor function in children with PAE.
prenatal alcohol exposure, fMRI, sensorimotor, functional connectivity
Long, X., Little, G., Beaulieu, C., & Lebel, C. (2018). Sensorimotor network alterations in children and youth with prenatal alcohol exposure. Human Brain Mapping, 39(5), 2258–2268.