High-resolution imaging in studies of alcohol effect on prenatal development
Fetal alcohol syndrome represents the leading known preventable cause of mental retardation. FAS is on the most severe side of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders that stem from the deleterious effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Affecting as many as 1 to 5 out of 100 children, FASD most often results in brain abnormalities that extend to structure, function, and cerebral hemodynamics. The present review provides an analysis of high-resolution imaging techniques that are used in animals and human subjects to characterize PAE-driven changes in the developing brain. Variants of magnetic resonance imaging such as magnetic resonance microscopy, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, along with positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, and photoacoustic imaging, are modalities that are used to study the influence of PAE on brain structure and function. This review briefly describes the aforementioned imaging modalities, the main findings that were obtained using each modality, and touches upon the advantages/disadvantages of each imaging approach.