Numbers, sequences pose problems for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome children

December 20, 2006

Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) have particular difficulty understanding numbers and sequences, a University of Alberta study shows.

An assessment of 50 Canadian children diagnosed with FASD, a condition caused by the mother's alcohol consumption while a fetus is still in the womb, revealed that the youngsters had specific deficits in memory for numbers and sequences, which may contribute to common math difficulties faced by these children. Prenatal alcohol abuse often leaves them with losses in physical, behavioural, emotional and social functioning.

The findings of the study, published in the December issue of Child Neuropsychology, may help refine assessments of FASD children and provide a 'neurobehavioural profile' to ensure they receive the most effective treatment possible, said lead author Dr. Carmen Rasmussen, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

"Knowing this would help in classrooms with FASD children," said Rasmussen. The typical teaching rate may be too rapid for children with FASD, resulting in large amounts of missed information, she said. "The study definitely has implications for treatment and education down the road."

The FASD children, aged six to 15 years, scored lower than other 84 per cent of other children their age on memory tests for numbers and sequences.

The study also revealed differences among ethnicities. Aboriginal children (35 in the study) and non-aboriginal children (15) showed different patterns of strengths and weaknesses in neurobehavioural functioning. Aboriginal children had stronger visual memories than verbal memories, while non-aboriginal children showed just the opposite.

This distinction offers the opportunity to adjust for subtle cultural or sociological differences in treatment and education programs, and it also gives a valuable heads-up to parents, Rasmussen suggested. "If parents know what their child's strengths and weaknesses are, they can help work on those skills."

Rasmussen theorizes that aboriginal children may have stronger aptitude in visual memory thanks to their culture, which focuses on holistic and hands-on interactive learning.
-end-
This study is the first to show these specific strengths and weaknesses in aboriginal and non-aboriginal children diagnosed with FASD.

The research was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

University of Alberta

Related Memory Articles from Brightsurf:

Memory of the Venus flytrap
In a study to be published in Nature Plants, a graduate student Mr.

Memory protein
When UC Santa Barbara materials scientist Omar Saleh and graduate student Ian Morgan sought to understand the mechanical behaviors of disordered proteins in the lab, they expected that after being stretched, one particular model protein would snap back instantaneously, like a rubber band.

Previously claimed memory boosting font 'Sans Forgetica' does not actually boost memory
It was previously claimed that the font Sans Forgetica could enhance people's memory for information, however researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Waikato, New Zealand, have found after carrying out numerous experiments that the font does not enhance memory.

Memory boost with just one look
HRL Laboratories, LLC, researchers have published results showing that targeted transcranial electrical stimulation during slow-wave sleep can improve metamemories of specific episodes by 20% after only one viewing of the episode, compared to controls.

VR is not suited to visual memory?!
Toyohashi university of technology researcher and a research team at Tokyo Denki University have found that virtual reality (VR) may interfere with visual memory.

The genetic signature of memory
Despite their importance in memory, the human cortex and subcortex display a distinct collection of 'gene signatures.' The work recently published in eNeuro increases our understanding of how the brain creates memories and identifies potential genes for further investigation.

How long does memory last? For shape memory alloys, the longer the better
Scientists captured live action details of the phase transitions of shape memory alloys, giving them a better idea how to improve their properties for applications.

A NEAT discovery about memory
UAB researchers say over expression of NEAT1, an noncoding RNA, appears to diminish the ability of older brains to form memories.

Molecular memory can be used to increase the memory capacity of hard disks
Researchers at the University of Jyväskylä have taken part in an international British-Finnish-Chinese collaboration where the first molecule capable of remembering the direction of a magnetic above liquid nitrogen temperatures has been prepared and characterized.

Memory transferred between snails
Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro.

Read More: Memory News and Memory Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.