Publications by authors named "Ala O Pashtepa"

2 Publications

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Measurement of neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal alcohol exposure in Ukrainian preschool children.

Child Neuropsychol 2021 May 13:1-16. Epub 2021 May 13.

Collaborative Initiative for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.

Effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) are rarely measured in preschool children due to relative insensitivity of assessment methods at this age. To examine the potential of a nonverbal battery in early identification of cognitive problems in alcohol-exposed children, 291 prospectively identified Ukrainian children were evaluated using a test battery focusing on early executive functioning (EF) and visuospatial skills, areas of cognitive development particularly sensitive to PAE in older children. Tests included the Differential Ability Scales, 2 Edition (DAS-2) and several NEPSY/NEPSY-II subtests, standardized in the United States. Others were adapted from commonly used non-standardized neuropsychological measures of EF (Preschool Spatial Span, Imitation Hand Game, A not B, Delayed Attention, Subject Ordered Pointing). Children in two sites in Ukraine, Rivne and Khmelnitsky, were tested at 3 ½-4 ½ years to identify effects of PAE. Although most children performed within the average range, Alcohol-Exposed preschoolers had lower scores on DAS-II Summary Scores as well as on specific subtests. To evaluate the effects of alcohol dose during the pre-pregnancy recognition period and during mid-gestation of pregnancy, generalized linear regression models were used controlling for demographic and individual variables. In addition to DAS-II variables, measures reflecting sustained attention, working memory and ability to shift cognitive set were impacted by alcohol dose. Early executive function appears to subsume these performance differences. In conclusion, findings indicate that the effects of PAE can be identified in the preschool period and reliably measured using tests assessing nonverbal and spatial skills supported by executive functioning.
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May 2021

Gestational age and socioeconomic status as mediators for the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure on development at 6 months.

Birth Defects Res 2019 07 31;111(12):789-796. Epub 2018 Oct 31.

Department of Pediatrics, University of California at San Diego, San Diego, California.

Background: Of the many negative outcomes associated with gestational alcohol use, one that has received relatively little attention is preterm birth and its possible contribution to effects of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on development. To examine the increased risk for premature delivery associated with PAE and the joint influence of preterm birth and alcohol on child outcomes, analysis was carried out in a longitudinal cohort recruited in Western Ukraine.

Methods: Alcohol-using women and low or nondrinking controls were identified prenatally for a clinical trial of multivitamins and minerals (MVM) in ameliorating effects of PAE. Women were interviewed to provide information about medical and social status and other drug use. At delivery, information was collected about infant (N = 686) status including gestational age (GA) in weeks. Finally, 441 infants were followed to 6 months of age and cognitive (Mental Developmental Index [MDI]) and motor development (Psychomotor Developmental Index [PDI]) (measured using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, second Ed (BSID-II).

Results: Seven percent infants were born at <37 weeks GA. The odds ratio for preterm delivery for Alcohol Exposed versus Low/No Alcohol was 2.6 (95% Confidence Interval 1.37, 4.94) (p < .003); MVM supplements were associated with a lower rate of preterm delivery overall, but the relative proportion of preterm births did not vary by MVM supplement status between alcohol exposure groups. In mediation models of 6 month cognitive and motor development with reference to Barron and Kenney in 1986, GA significantly mediated alcohol effects (MDI: Z = -2.64, p < .008; PDI: Z = -2.35, p < .02) although PAE independently affected both outcomes (MDI: t = -5.6, p < .000; PDI: t = -3.19, p < .002).

Conclusion: Results suggest that PAE is associated with higher rates of preterm birth and that alcohol's effect on development in infancy may be both direct and mediated by shortened length of gestation.
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July 2019