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

Anita J. Fuglestad, Neely C. Miller, Birgit A. Fink, Christopher J. Boys, Judith K. Eckerle, Michael K. Georgieff, Jeffrey R. Wozniak

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2 Scopus citations


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


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