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Outside of any reported elevated risk of offspring autism or autistic traits associated with prenatal VPA exposure, I'm also minded to bring in some interesting work on intestinal inflammation being reported in a VPA mouse model (see here) to further highlight that important gut-brain axis which I seem to be a little obsessed with.
The Wood paper is open-access and has some accompanying media coverage but a few pointers might be useful...
- Following other work by the authors on this topic  the idea behind this latest research was to apply the science of neuroimaging to a participant group comprising 16 children exposed to VPA in-utero compared with age- and sex-matched children not exposed to such pharmaceutics prenatally.
- MRI scans were taken and analysed and "whole brain group differences" assessed.
- Results: well, as discussed, there were some findings in terms of cortical thickness but also specifically with language skills in mind. To quote again: "Asymmetry of cortical thickness in the inferior frontal lobes was seen in controls but not cases". I understand that this finding might have some relevance to language processing  although set my non-expert stall out on such matters. As per that previous link  and other evidence , language functions in VPA exposed children tend to poorer compared to controls and to those exposed to other anti-convulsant medication during the nine months that made us. This last point on different medications potentially carrying different risk profiles  is something equally interesting.
I'm going to leave you with a quote from the authors about their study: "VPA remains an important medication for people with epilepsy. What this study really tells us is that further research is required so that all women with epilepsy can make informed decisions about their medication use during pregnancy". I couldn't agree more, and as per the Treating for Two initiative, I'm not the only one.
Music then... HRH Gaga and Just Dance.
 Wood AG. et al. Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology. 2014. July 3. doi: 10.1002/acn3.74
 Nadebaum C. et al. Language skills of school-aged children prenatally exposed to antiepileptic drugs. Neurology. 2011 Feb 22;76(8):719-26.
 Powell HWR. et al. Hemispheric asymmetries in language-related pathways: A combined functional MRI and tractography study. NeuroImage. 2006; 32: 388-399.
 Shallcross R. et al. In utero exposure to levetiracetam vs valproate: development and language at 3 years of age. Neurology. 2014 Jan 21;82(3):213-21.
 Vajda FJE. et al. The teratogenicity of the newer antiepileptic drugs – an update. Acta Neurol Scand. 2014. July 18
 Almeida LE. et al. Increased BDNF expression in fetal brain in the valproic acid model of autism. Mol Cell Neurosci. 2014 Mar;59:57-62.
 Mychasiuk R. et al. Effects of rat prenatal exposure to valproic acid on behaviour and neuro-anatomy. Dev Neurosci. 2012;34(2-3):268-76.
Wood, A., Chen, J., Barton, S., Nadebaum, C., Anderson, V., Catroppa, C., Reutens, D., O'Brien, T., & Vajda, F. (2014). Altered cortical thickness following prenatal sodium valproate exposure Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology DOI: 10.1002/acn3.74
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