Neurophysiological correlates of memory change in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders treated with choline

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Background: Prenatal and early postnatal choline supplementation reduces cognitive and behavioral deficits in animal models of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In a previously published 9-month clinical trial of choline supplementation in children with FASD, we reported that postnatal choline was associated with improved performance on a hippocampal-dependent recognition memory task. The current paper describes the neurophysiological correlates of that memory performance for trial completers.

Methods: Children with FASD ( N  = 24) who were enrolled in a clinical trial of choline supplementation were followed for 9 months. Delayed recall on a 9-step elicited imitation task (EI) served as the behavioral measure of recognition memory. Neurophysiological correlates of memory were assessed via event-related potentials (ERP).

Results: Delayed recall on EI was correlated with two ERP components commonly associated with recognition memory in young children: middle latency negative component (Nc amplitude; range: r  = -0.41 to r  = -0.44) and positive slow wave (PSW area under the curve; range: r  = -0.45 to r  = -0.63). No significant ERP differences were observed between the choline and placebo groups at the conclusion of the trial.

Conclusion: Although the small sample size limits the ability to draw clear conclusions about the treatment effect of choline on ERP, the results suggest a relationship between memory performance and underlying neurophysiological status in FASD. This trial was registered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number936019
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Sep 26 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (5R21AA019580, R33AA019580 and R01AA024123).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Fuglestad, Miller, Fink, Boys, Eckerle, Georgieff and Wozniak.


  • choline
  • clinical trial
  • event-related potentials
  • fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FAS; FASD)
  • hippocampus
  • memory
  • treatment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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