Accumulating evidence indicates that the fetal environment plays an important role in brain development and sets the brain on a trajectory across the life span. An abnormal fetal environment results when factors that should be present during a critical period of development are absent or when factors that should not be in the developing brain are present. While these factors may acutely disrupt brain function, the real cost to society resides in the long-term effects, which include important mental health issues. We review the effects of three factors, fetal alcohol exposure, teratogen exposure, and nutrient deficiencies, on the developing brain and the consequent risk for developmental psychopathology. Each is reviewed with respect to the evidence found in epidemiological and clinical studies in humans as well as preclinical molecular and cellular studies that explicate mechanisms of action.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Doyle Colleen Cicchetti Dante Editors Georgieff Michael K. a b Tran Phu V. a Carlson Erik S. c a University of Minnesota School of Medicine b University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development c University of Washington School of Medicine Supported in part by National Institutes of Health Grants HD029421 and AA024123 (to M.K.G.), NS099178 (to P.V.T.), and K08-MH104281 (to E.S.C.). Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Michael K. Georgieff, University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital , Division of Neonatology , 2450 Riverside Avenue , 6th floor East Building , Room 630 , Minneapolis , MN 55454 ; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . 02 08 2018 08 2018 30 3