Patterns of Cognitive‐Motor Development in Children With Fetal Alcohol Syndrome From a Community in South Africa

Departments of Pediatrics and Child Health (CMA), Psychology (AH), and Psychiatry (CDM), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.21). 03/2001; 25(4):557 - 562. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2001.tb02250.x


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: This article represents the proceedings of a workshop at the 2000 ISBRA Meeting in Yokohama, Japan. The chairs were Kenneth R. Warren and Faye J. Calhoun. The presentations were (1) Epidemiological research on fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) in the United States, by Philip A. May; (2) An overview of fetal alcohol syndrome in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, by Denis L. Viljoen and Ting-Kai Li; (3) Diagnostic perspectives of fetal alcohol and tobacco syndromes, by Harumi Tanaka; (4) FAS among pupils of special boarding schools and orphanages in Moscow, Russia, by Galina S. Marinicheva and Luther K. Robinson; and (5) Research on FAS and FAE in Germany: Update and perspectives, by Goetz Mundle.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2001 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
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    ABSTRACT: Factors associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy and with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) births were examined as part of a larger epidemiologic study of FAS in a community in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. Using retrospective case-control methodology, 31 mothers who had given birth to FAS children 6 to 9 years previously were compared with 31 matched controls on a variety of demographic, socioeconomic, drinking, family and maternity variables. Descriptive analyses were utilized to determine major differential characteristics between the two groups. In this community with a very high rate of FAS and rather uniform low socioeconomic status, the two groups were found to be comparable with respect to age, annual income, ethnic background, age of initiation of regular drinking, age at birth of the index child, gravidity and parity. However, mothers of FAS children reported initiating drinking at an earlier age, as well as reporting higher rates of heavy alcohol consumption in their extended family, current use of alcohol, drinking before and during pregnancy, and smoking of tobacco (percentage who smoke) during each trimester of the pregnancy. Mothers of FAS children had lower educational attainment and reported lower religiosity than control mothers. This study in South Africa draws upon the experience of mothers of 31 children with FAS to confirm many of the same high-risk variables identified in maternal risk studies in the United States and Europe. Some factors associated with less maternal alcohol abuse in this high-risk population were also identified, which may be helpful for implementing prevention in this region as well as in other developing countries.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2002 · Journal of studies on alcohol
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal exposure to alcohol (prenatal alcohol exposure) is associated with gross and fine motor skill dysfunction. The present study examined performance on two types of timing tasks to determine the extent to which prenatal alcohol exposure affects perception, movement planning, and movement execution during tasks that require temporal processing. Fourteen children with confirmed heavy prenatal alcohol exposure and 22 control children (aged 5-10 years) completed two timing tasks: a coincident-anticipation timing task that primarily assessed central processing, and a movement-speed timing task that evaluated the motor component of temporal processing. Absolute error, signed error, and variability of the participant's signed error were the dependent variables. For both timing tasks, children with prenatal alcohol exposure were significantly less accurate and more variable than control children, indicating that both the sensory-perceptual and motor components of temporal processing were disrupted in alcohol-exposed children. Alcohol-exposed children had difficulty producing accurate and consistent motor responses when intercepting a moving target or moving through a spatial target in a specified amount of time. Disruptions in these motor timing behaviors may be indicative of alcohol-related cerebellar or basal ganglia damage.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2003 · Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research
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