Wiley Open Access, Human Brain Mapping, 11(34), p. 2852-2862, 2012
Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are debilitating, with effects of prenatal alcohol exposure persisting into adolescence and adulthood. Complete characterization of FASD is crucial for the development of diagnostic tools and intervention techniques to decrease the high cost to individual families and society of this disorder. In this experiment, we investigated visual system deficits in adolescents (12-21 years) diagnosed with an FASD by measuring the latency of patients' primary visual M100 responses using MEG. We hypothesized that patients with FASD would demonstrate delayed primary visual responses compared to controls. M100 latencies were assessed both for FASD patients and age-matched healthy controls for stimuli presented at the fovea (central stimulus) and at the periphery (peripheral stimuli; left or right of the central stimulus) in a saccade task requiring participants to direct their attention and gaze to these stimuli. Source modeling was performed on visual responses to the central and peripheral stimuli and the latency of the first prominent peak (M100) in the occipital source timecourse was identified. The peak latency of the M100 responses were delayed in FASD patients for both stimulus types (central and peripheral), but the difference in latency of primary visual responses to central vs. peripheral stimuli was significant only in FASD patients, indicating that, while FASD patients' visual systems are impaired in general, this impairment is more pronounced in the periphery. These results suggest that basic sensory deficits in this population may contribute to sensorimotor integration deficits described previously in this disorder. Hum Brain Mapp, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.