Prenatal exposure to anticonvulsant drugs and spatial ability in adulthood

Arianne Dessens, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis, Gideon Mellenbergh, Nanne Van De Poll, Janna Koppe, Kees Boer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


By disturbing steroid hormone balances in the fetus, the anticonvulsant drugs phenobarbital and phenytoin may affect certain aspects of cognitive functioning. In order to test this hypothesis, we studied hormone related cognitive functioning in 72 men and 75 women who had been prenatally exposed to these drugs and equal numbers of matched control subjects. The groups did not differ on word fluency, dichotic listening and a Water Level Test. On Card Rotations, however, anticonvulsant-exposed males and females obtained significantly lower scores than control subjects. These results suggest that in both males and females prenatal exposure to phenobarbital and phenytoin may affect holistic spatial processing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-225
Number of pages5
JournalActa neurobiologiae experimentalis
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 1998


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Prenatal exposure-delayed effects
  • Spatial processing
  • Steroids
  • international

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