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Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on language, speech and communication outcomes: a review longitudinal studies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 November 2018

Gaironeesa Hendricks
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa ACSENT Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Susan Malcolm-Smith
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health and MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Colleen Adnams
Affiliation:
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Dan Joseph Stein
Affiliation:
Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Kirsten Ann Mary Donald
Affiliation:
ACSENT Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Corresponding

Abstract

Objective

The aim of this paper was to provide a systematic review and update on the available longitudinal studies on the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on language, speech and communication development, as well as associated potential environmental confounders during the preschool period.

Methods

A literature search was restricted to English, full‐text, peer‐reviewed, longitudinal studies in from 1970 until present: PUBMed, Scopus, Web of Science {C-e Collection, Biological Abstracts, KCI-Kean Journal Database, Russian Science Citation Index, SciELO Citation Index, Zoological Rec-d}, Academic Search Premier (Africa-Wide Information, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycINFO. Keywords included: prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE); speech or language or communication outcomes; neurocognitive or neurodevelopment or neurobehavioral or neurobehavioural; infant or baby or toddler or preschooler; longitudinal or follow-up. The inclusion criteria included (i) longitudinal cohorts with at least 2 time-points; (ii) association of light, moderate or heavy PAE on language, speech or communication delay, development or disorder; (iii) environmental confounders; (iv) infants up to preschool age.

Results

Six studies satisfied the threshold for inclusion. Three studies reported that PAE was significantly associated with receptive or expressive delay. These studies demonstrated lower scores on either receptive or expressive communication in the alcohol group in comparison to the non-alcohol group, even after controlling for environmental factors up to 36 months.

Conclusion

Evidence from the longitudinal studies reviewed suggest that PAE influenced delays in receptive and expressive communication up to 36 months. Contextual risk factors played a significant role in language development over time and especially as children approached school age.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
© Scandinavian College of Neuropsychopharmacology 2018 

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