Examining neurocognitive outcomes of children that have experienced prenatal alcohol exposure using data from the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort.
Publication Date
2021
Lead Organisation
Taranaki DHB; The University of Auckland;
Lead Researcher
Raimond Jacquemard, Fiona Langridge, Denise Neumann, Avinesh Pillai, Chris Bullen
Access Type
Internal
Primary Classification
Psych and Cog
Secondary Classification
Health and Wellbeing

Definite data on the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in New Zealand (FASD) are not available. Various publications have however consistently shown that the incidence of antenatal alcohol exposure is high.

Prevalence studies for FASD are typically conducted via a case ascertainment method. The World Health Organisation has set up an excellent study protocol for this, and a number of countries have followed the protocol. The method however is costly and it has been impossible to secure funding for it in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health conducted a pilot study in 2018 into the feasibility of a case ascertainment study within the GUiNZ cohort. The pilot study showed that it was possible to screen for FASD within the cohort, but that true case ascertainment would be difficult to carry out. It is however likely that the GUINZ dataset can provide answers to key questions relating to FASD in New Zealand.

The Ministry of Health have commissioned a study using the Growing Up in New Zealand study to estimate a screening prevalence of FASD in the cohort. This study will aim to examine neurocognitive outcomes of children that have experienced prenatal alcohol exposure in the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort. For a diagnosis of FASD, neurocognition needs to be impaired in at least three of 10 domains. These domains are covered in measures that the project will explore including the NIH toolbox, Vinelands and Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.