Overcoming fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Jeffrey WozniakFetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which develop in utero, can cause abnormalities in brain development that have lasting effects on a child’s ability to function, influencing everything from attention span, to memory and learning, to planning and organizing.

That’s why with Masonic support, psychiatry faculty member Jeffrey Wozniak, Ph.D., L.P., and pediatrics faculty member Christopher Boys, Ph.D., L.P., are dedicated to lessening the impact of these disorders.

Together, they have completed extensive brain imaging on the damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and are now using their findings to develop treatments that could make a world of difference.

Boys and Wozniak are currently examining the impact of computerized Christopher Boyscognitive training combined with mild electrode-based brain stimulation. Their goal is to study this approach in 40 young people who, along with their families, will play a key role in gauging its effectiveness. So far, they have tested the intervention on several adolescents and seen encouraging results.

Masonic support has made all the difference in getting this research off the ground.

“One of the tricky aspects of obtaining funding from entities like the National Institutes of Health is that one often needs to show evidence of success in order to get a grant. Societies like the Minnesota Masons who provide initial funding for new research directions serve an absolutely vital role in moving science from the idea stage to the initial exploration stage.”

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