The impact of micronutrient supplementation in alcohol-exposed pregnancies on reaction time responses of preschoolers in Ukraine


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1 Scopus citations


The potential of micronutrients to ameliorate the impact of prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) on attentional regulation skills was explored in a randomized clinical trial conducted in Ukraine. Women who differed in prenatal alcohol use were recruited during pregnancy and assigned to one of three groups [No study-provided supplements, Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement (MVM), or MVM plus Choline]. Their offspring were seen in the preschool period and a reaction time task was administered. Participants were asked to press a response button as quickly as possible as 30 stimuli from the same category (animals) were presented consecutively and then followed by six stimuli from a novel category (vehicles). Number correct, mean latency of the response over trials, and variability in the latency were analyzed separately by sex. During the initial animal trials, boys whose mothers received MVM during pregnancy had more correct responses and reduced response latency compared to boys whose mothers had no MVM treatment. During vehicle trials, maternal choline supplementation was associated with increased response speed in males without a PAE history. Females receiving supplements did not show the same benefits from micronutrient supplementation and were more adversely impacted by prenatal alcohol exposure. Relationships between maternal levels of choline, betaine, and dimethylglycine (DMG) and task performance were also assessed. Although no effects were found for choline after adjusting for multiple comparisons, lower baseline DMG level was associated with greater accuracy and shorter latency of responses in the initial animal trials and shorter latency in the vehicle trials in female preschoolers. Level of betaine in Trimester 3 was associated with reduced variability in the latency of male responses during the animal trials. Maternal micronutrient supplementation in pregnancy appears to improve preschool reaction time performance, but the effects varied as a function of sex and PAE exposure status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-58
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Mar 2022


  • attention
  • choline
  • micronutrient supplementation
  • prenatal alcohol
  • reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Biochemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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