Mapping cerebellar vermal morphology and cognitive correlates in prenatal alcohol exposure

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Prenatal exposure to alcohol can result in neuroanatomical and neurocognitive deficits. High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging, surface-based image analytic methods, and neuropsychological measures were used to characterize the cerebellar vermis and to evaluate potential cognitive correlates of vermal morphology in 21 children and adolescents with prenatal alcohol exposure and 21 normally developing individuals. Alcohol-exposed individuals showed statistically significant reductions in the midline sagittal areas of the anterior vermis and posterior-inferior vermis, and significant displacement of the anterior and posterior-inferior vermal regions. Anterior vermal dysmorphology was negatively correlated with verbal learning and memory performance within the alcohol-exposed group. These observations expand on previous reports of cerebellar abnormalities in prenatal alcohol exposure, in that they localize the specific pattern of cerebellar vermal dysmorphology.

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