Neuropediatrics 2009; 40(4): 162-167
DOI: 10.1055/s-0029-1243176
Original Article

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Cognitive Functioning in Children Prenatally Exposed to Alcohol and Psychotropic Drugs

K. Dalen1 , S. Bruarøy2 , T. Wentzel-Larsen3 , L. M. Lægreid2
  • 1Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 2Department of Child Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
  • 3Centre for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway
Further Information

Publication History

received 13.05.2009

accepted 15.10.2009

Publication Date:
04 February 2010 (online)


Cognitive functioning was compared in 29 children diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), 35 children with fetal alcohol effects (FAE), and 66 psychotropic drugs-exposed (PDE) children using Wechsler tests and the neuropsychological test battery NEPSY. In the FAS group, verbal IQ (VIQ=78), performance IQ (PIQ=77), and full scale IQ (FSIQ=75) were significantly lower as compared to the FAE and PDE groups. In the PDE group VIQ and FSIQ were significantly higher than in the FAE group. In the FAS group, processing speed (PS) was significantly lower than the other three factors. In the FAE group, perceptual organization (PO) was significantly higher, whereas PS was significantly lower than the other factors. In the PDE group, verbal comprehension (VC) was significantly higher than the other factors. Attention subscales on the NEPSY were significantly lower in all the three groups. Prenatal alcohol exposure affects IQ levels more than exposure to psychotropic drugs. Attentional problems were found in all children when tested with the NEPSY in all groups.



Knut Dalen

Department of Biological and Medical Psychology

University of Bergen

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