Prenatal exposure to sodium valproate associated with neurodevelopmental impairments

Anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy affects babies’ brain

A new research suggests that children whose mothers took anti-epileptic drugs during pregnancy might suffer from brain impairments.


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The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Birmingham and partners in Australia, found that brain development problems were higher in children born to mothers who use sodium valproate (VPA) during pregnancy.

Prenatal exposure to sodium valproate (VPA) is associated with neurodevelopmental impairments. Cortical thickness was measured in 16 children exposed prenatally to VPA and 16 controls. We found increased left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG; BA45) and left pericalcarine sulcus (BA18) thickness, an association between VPA dose and right IFG thickness, and a close relationship between verbal skills and left IFG thickness. A significant interaction between group and hemispheric IFG thickness showed absence of the normal asymmetry in the IFG region of VPA-exposed children. These data provide preliminary insights into the putative neural basis of difficulties experienced by some VPA-exposed children.

Sources and more information:
  • Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure, wileyonlinelibrary, DOI: 10.1002/acn3.74, 3 JUL 2014.
  • Anti-epileptic Drugs During Pregnancy Affects Babies’ Brain, natureworldnews, articles/8010, 2014.07.11.

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