#104 Dr. Catherine Lebel: New Study on low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure

fasd success show Apr 17, 2022

We know prenatal alcohol exposure is a risk factor for FASD. We have studies on high levels of prenatal alcohol exposure - but what about low levels? Up until now, we have not had a study to share showing how low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure can affect the brain and behaviour. 

My guest today, Dr. Catherine Lebel, discusses a recently released study that examined altered brain structure and function in children with low levels of PAE.


We don’t have a lot of prior studies looking at low levels. Sometimes it’s hard to detect effects when you have a smaller study so it may not find anything so people might interpret that as it’s fine to drink.

In this episode, we break it all down so you can understand the information to use in your advocacy. We have the who, what, where  why and how:

  • Who and how many the study involved?
  • Why this study is needed.
  • What the study examined and what the results were.
  • Where this will lead us.
  • How you can use this information in your advocacy.

I tend to characterize FASD as causing these lifelong challenges, but they are not permanent. Things change and brains grow. They keep growing into the 30s. So, brains are changing for a very long time. This means there is a lot of time for an intervention. Brains are always changing. Brains change every time we learn something new.

Dr. Lebel also updates us on her FASD and Mental Health research project. You can check out a previous podcast we did on this: MRIs and the FASD Brain with Dr. Catherine Lebel. They still need participants, so check out the Show Notes for all the details and links.

This is really exciting and groundbreaking research. We now have some science to back up what we are saying. I also asked Dr. Lebel what motivates her to keep going – and one of the things is CAREGIVERS! So, keep advocating and keep involved. You are part of the change we are seeing.

Show Notes:

Low Levels Study:

Evaluation of Brain Alterations and Behavior in Children With Low Levels of Prenatal Alcohol Exposure

Dr. Lebel's website: Developmental Neuroimaging Lab

Instagram: @lebel.neuroimaging

Twitter: @CatherineALebel

Contact Info for the FASD and Mental Health Study if you have a confirmed PAE diagnosis, are 7-18 years old and close to Calgary or Edmonton (Alberta). Email [email protected]


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