some of the deleterious consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure. The beneficial impact of environmental enrichment and of dose-response shifts to psychopharmacologic drugs also suggests that classical neural recovery processes may be engaged during postnatal development. Although full recovery from teratogenic exposure to alcohol may be as much a "myth" as after traumatic lesions ( Isaacson, 1975), this work suggests that it might be possible to improve behavioral competence and the quality of life for FAS children.
The approach used in the research described in this chapter has largely been postnatal psychobiological and psychopharmacological assessments of the impact alcohol on fetal development in an animal (rat) model of alcohol-related birth defects (ARBDs). Neurochemical, anatomical, and physiological work by others was used to guide our work and support our conclusions. In general, these studies show that the rat is a valid model of ARBDs: a model that can be useful in testing neurobehavioral sequelae and potential treatments or "therapies" for ARBDs. To date, our results and those of others suggest that alterations in forebrain dopamine systems and/or hippocampus may underlie some of the attentional deficits (including overactivity) and learning and memory dysfunction in rats. Dose-response shifts in CNS stimulants suggest differential sensitivity to pharmacotherapies. Further, there may be a general benefit for prenatal alcohol-compromised offspring given global "treatments" such as being raised in enriched environments.
Supported by grants ROI-AA06721 and P50-AA07606, and ADAMHA Scientist Development Award K21-AA00140 from NIAAA. The assistance of I. Thompson, M. Meredith, and B. Cortese in preparing this chapter is appreciated.
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Abel E. L. ( 1984). Fetal alcohol syndrome/fetal alcohol effects. New York: Plenum.
Abel E. L. ( 1990). Fetal alcohol syndrome. Oradell, NJ: Medical Economics Press.
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Publication information: Book title: Neurobehavioral Plasticity:Learning, Development, and Response to Brain Insults. Contributors: Norman E. Spear - Editor, Linda P. Spear - Editor, Michael L. Woodruff - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 301.
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