Postnatal nutritional treatment of neurocognitive deficits in fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

A Bastons-Compta, M Astals, V Andreu-Fernandez, E Navarro-Tapia, O Garcia-Algar
Biochemistry and Cell Biology 2018, 96 (2): 213-221
Ethanol is the most important teratogen agent in humans. Prenatal alcohol exposure can lead to a wide range of adverse effects, which are broadly termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The most severe consequence of maternal alcohol abuse is the development of fetal alcohol syndrome, defined by growth retardation, facial malformations, and central nervous system impairment expressed as microcephaly and neurodevelopment abnormalities. These alterations generate a broad range of cognitive abnormalities such as learning disabilities and hyperactivity and behavioural problems. Socioeconomic status, ethnicity, differences in genetic susceptibility related to ethanol metabolism, alcohol consumption patterns, obstetric problems, and environmental influences like maternal nutrition, stress, and other co-administered drugs are all factors that may influence FASD manifestations. Recently, much attention has been paid to the role of nutrition as a protective factor against alcohol teratogenicity. There are a great number of papers related to nutritional treatment of nutritional deficits due to several factors associated with maternal consumption of alcohol and with eating and social disorders in FASD children. Although research showed the clinical benefits of nutritional interventions, most of work was in animal models, in a preclinical phase, or in the prenatal period. However, a minimum number of studies refer to postnatal nutrition treatment of neurodevelopmental deficits. Nutritional supplementation in children with FASD has a dual objective: to overcome nutritional deficiencies and to reverse or improve the cognitive deleterious effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Further research is necessary to confirm positive results, to determine optimal amounts of nutrients needed in supplementation, and to investigate the collective effects of simultaneous multiple-nutrient supplementation.

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