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Sandra Jacobson, Ph.D. and Joseph L. Jacobson, Ph.D., Professors, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurosciences, WSU
February 21, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
CHGD 2017 Winter Seminar Series “The First 1,000 Days” features Drs. Sandra Jacobson and Joseph Jacobson, Wayne State University, on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. Drs. Jacobson’s presentation is entitled “Challenges in the Diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.”
Sandra Jacobson and Joseph Jacobson are Professors in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Wayne State University and Honorary Professors, Departments of Human Biology and Psychiatry and Mental Health at University of Cape Town. Sandra received her Ph.D. in developmental and clinical psychology from Harvard University, and Joseph received his Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Harvard.
The Jacobsons’ research on environmental contaminants included an 11-year prospective, longitudinal study on prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), an environmental contaminant, in western Michigan and an 11-year prospective study on effects of environmental contaminants in Inuit children in Arctic Quebec. Their Michigan study was the first to report adverse effects of prenatal PCB exposure on infant recognition memory and on IQ and achievement in childhood (New England Journal of Medicine). The Jacobsons’ research on fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) includes a 19-year longitudinal study of inner city, Detroit children prenatally exposed to alcohol at moderate-to-heavy levels. In 1996, Sandra Jacobson was invited to participate in a National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) site visit to South Africa to investigate reports of a very high incidence of FAS, which led the Jacobsons to conduct the first prospective longitudinal study of children with fetal alcohol syndrome. In 2005, under a grant from the NIH Fogarty International Center, they and their collaborators launched the first functional MRI (fMRI) studies in Cape Town. Their South Africa research, funded by 10 research grants from NIAAA, has involved recruitment of two prospective longitudinal cohorts and included studies of effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on executive function, social cognition as well as studies of alcohol-related arithmetic deficits using event-related potential EEG assessments, on reading and eyeblink conditioning using fMRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and the first studies of newborns with prenatal alcohol exposure with FASD using MRI and DTI. In 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2016 they organized diagnostic clinics in which children in their cohorts ranging in age from infancy to young adulthood were examined by expert U.S. and South African FASD dysmorphologists. In the course of their work they have assembled and oversee an outstanding research team at UCT and WSU and are collaborating with experts both at UCT and in the U.S. on this large research program.
Sandra Jacobson has served as President of the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group, on NIAAA and National Institute on Drug Abuse review panels, and several editorial boards. Joseph Jacobson has served on expert panels for the Institute of Medicine, NIAAA, and National Institute of Environmental Health Research. The Jacobson were jointly awarded the Henry Rosett Award for their long-term contributions to research on FASD at the Research Society on Alcoholism Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study Group in 2013.