The objective of the current study was to examine what stage of memory (encoding or retrieval) may be compromised in adolescents with a history of prenatal drug exposure (PDE) and how the effects of PDE on memory ability are substantiated at the neural level. To achieve this goal, we examined memory performance and associated brain activations in adolescents with and without a history of PDE via event-related fMRI during encoding and retrieval. Consistent with previous studies, we found that PDE subjects remembered fewer items than community comparison subjects. However, there were no differences in behavior after adjusting for correct rejections (i.e., d'). Novel extensions of previous work are findings that PDE is associated with changes in brain activation during memory encoding but not during retrieval. These results suggest that less optimal memory performance often observed in adolescents with a history of PDE may result from variations in encoding rather than retrieval processes.
Long-term effects of prenatal drug exposure on the neural correlates of memory at encoding and retrieval