Patterns of Cognitive‐Motor Development in Children With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome From a Community in South Africa
ABSTRACT Background: Even though fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has been reported in nonwestern nations, there is a paucity of information on neurodevelopment in the affected children from those nations. This article reports on a study of cognitive-motor development in a group of children with FAS from a community in the Western Cape Province in South Africa.Methods: Thirty-four children with FAS and 34 controls from grade 1 (school entry level) classes participated. The two groups comprised Afrikaans-speaking children of mixed ancestry (South African Colored) and were matched for age, sex, and family income. The Griffiths Mental Development Scales were used to assess cognitive motor development of the participants.Results: A multivariate analysis of covariance was performed to test the group effect on the combined Griffiths subscales adjusting for maternal education. The results showed a significant group effect. Follow-up analyses revealed that a combination of four subscales (Speech and Hearing, Performance, Practical Reasoning, and Eye and Hand Coordination) primarily contributed to the overall effect. Although there was a marginal effect on the Personal-Social subscale, no significant effect on the Locomotor (gross motor) subscale was found.Conclusions: The results showed that the FAS group was markedly deficient only in higher-order cognitive-motor competencies.
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ABSTRACT: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is associated with a large number of cognitive and sensory-motor deficits. In particular, the accurate assessment of sensory-motor deficits in children with FASD is not always simple and relies on clinical assessment tools that may be coarse and subjective. Here we present a new approach: using robotic technology to accurately and objectively assess motor deficits of children with FASD in a center-out reaching task. A total of 152 typically developing children and 31 children with FASD, all aged between 5 and 18 were assessed using a robotic exoskeleton device coupled with a virtual reality projection system. Children made reaching movements to 8 peripheral targets in a random order. Reach trajectories were subsequently analyzed to extract 12 parameters that had been previously determined to be good descriptors of a reaching movement, and these parameters were compared for each child with FASD to a normative model derived from the performance of the typically developing population. Compared with typically developing children, the children with FASD were found to be significantly impaired on most of the parameters measured, with the greatest deficits found in initial movement direction error. Also, children with FASD tended to fail more parameters than typically developing children: 95% of typically developing children failed fewer than 3 parameters compared with 69% of children with FASD. These results were particularly pronounced for younger children. The current study has shown that robotic technology is a sensitive and powerful tool that provides increased specificity regarding the type of motor problems exhibited by children with FASD. The high frequency of motor deficits in children with FASD suggests that interventions aimed at stimulating and/or improving motor development should routinely be considered for this population.Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 08/2013; · 3.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: South Africa has the highest rate of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the world. While efforts have been made to curb the high rate of FAS, little is known about situational factors that may contribute to alcohol use during pregnancy. In the current paper, we focus on the role of food insecurity and its relationship to alcohol use among pregnant women. Women completed computer-assisted interviews. Generalized linear modeling was used in all analyses. Women attending alcohol-serving establishments in a township in Cape Town, South Africa were recruited for the study. Five hundred sixty women were sampled and 95 women reported being pregnant. High levels of alcohol use were reported among pregnant women: 65 % of women consumed alcohol at least every month and 29 % consumed alcohol as often as two to three times per week. Thirty-four percent of the women reported having six or more drinks per occasion on at least a weekly basis. The majority (87 %) of pregnant women reported experiencing some form of food insecurity (e.g., food unavailable, eating less) in the past month. Alcohol use was significantly associated with food insecurity, even when controlling for relevant demographic variables. Intervention with pregnant women who consume alcohol is urgently needed. Future research should focus on understanding the intersection of food insecurity and alcohol, and how the experience of food insecurity may contribute to greater rates of alcohol use and abuse among pregnant women.Prevention Science 03/2013; · 2.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: South Africa has one of the highest rates of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) in the world. However, little is known about what men and women who attend alcohol serving establishments believe about alcohol use during pregnancy and how these beliefs may be related to alcohol use. Objectives: To understand FASD beliefs and related behaviors among men and women attending alcohol-serving establishments. Methods: We surveyed 1047 men (n = 565) and women (n = 482) -including pregnant women and men with pregnant partners- attending alcohol serving establishments in a township located in Cape Town, South Africa. Results: Among both pregnant (n = 53) and non-pregnant (n = 429) women, 54% reported drinking alcohol at least 2-4 times per month, and 57% reported having at least 3-4 alcohol drinks during a typical drinking session. Pregnant women were less likely to believe that they should not drink alcohol and that alcohol can harm a fetus when compared to non-pregnant women. Similar findings were observed between men with pregnant partners compared to men without pregnant partners. Among women, beliefs about how much alcohol pregnant women can safely drink were associated with self-reported alcohol use. Conclusions: Efforts to address FASD need to focus on understanding how men and women perceive alcohol use during pregnancy and situational factors that contribute to alcohol consumption among pregnant women attending alcohol serving establishments. Structural and individual-level interventions targeting women at alcohol serving establishments should be prioritized to mitigate alcohol use during pregnancy.The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 03/2014; 40(2):87-94. · 1.55 Impact Factor