Health and Neurobehavior in Adults with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

This study will investigate the long-term effects of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure (PAE) on health and neurodevelopment in adults. Alcohol exposure during pregnancy affects children but we have never studied the effects in adults.  It is an open question whether effects are life-long or if they gradually resolve as people grow up.  We are asking a group of adults who are now 35 to 45 years old to get back in touch with us and help us understand how prenatal exposure may affect their health and mental health during middle adulthood.   We will ask those who were exposed to alcohol during pregnancy as well as a contrast group of people who were not exposed to complete a questionnaire about their current health.   Some of those people will be asked to come into our office for a more in-depth examination.  Those people will complete questionnaires, have a physical examination and lab tests, and may be asked to volunteer for measurement oxygen usage in their brain during a computer game.  We will also collect samples to send to Vancouver for analysis of immune functioning. Over a period of 4 years, we are asking 240 people to complete the initial Health Questionnaire and 120 for the in depth assessment.   Our colleagues in Seattle will be recruiting an equal number of people to complete the same tests. 

As a result of these studies we hope to have a better understanding of how prenatal alcohol exposure affects adults as they get older, in terms of health, mental health and functioning in the community.

Quick facts about the Adult Health Study

  • This is the first study of adult health and FASD.
  • Participants are people who have been part of research in this area for 40 years!
  • This study is part of the Collaborative Unitive on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD4).
  • We are collaborating with scientists at other sites including the University of Washington in Seattle, the University of British Columbia in Seattle and the University of California at San Diego and San Diego State University.

Activities Include

  • On-line Adult Health Survey
  • FASD Registry for Adults who want to continue to participate in research
  • In Depth Assessment of Adults and Control participants carried out in Atlanta and Seattle
  • Immunology Studies

Project Staff


Principal Investigator: Claire D. Coles, Ph.D.
Co- Investigators:  Mary Ellen Lynch, PhD, Julie A. Kable, Ph.D
Research Coordinator:  Stacey Barnum, MPH, (404) 712 9818


Principle investigator: Seattle subcontract: Therese Grant, PhD
Co-Investigators: Kay Kelly
Research Coordinator: Sandra Radin


Principle investigator: Joanne Weinberg, PhD

San Diego

Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD
Consultant: Edward S. Riley, PhD


The project is funded by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol-Abuse (NIAAA) as part of the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD4). It is located in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.


If you have questions or want more information, call Stacey Barnum at 404-712-9818 or email at