Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a pattern of mental and physical defects that can develop in a fetus in association with high levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Current research also implicates other lifestyle choices made by the prospective mother. Indications for lower levels of alcohol are inconclusive. The current recommendation of the Surgeon General of the United States,the British Department of Health and the Australian Government National Health and Medical Research Council is to drink no alcohol at all during pregnancy.
Alcohol crosses the placental barrier and can stunt fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, damage neurons and brain structures, which can result in psychological or behavioral problems, and cause other physical damage. Surveys found that in the United States, 10–15% of pregnant women report having recently drunk alcohol, and up to 30% drink alcohol at some point during pregnancy.
The main effect of FAS is permanent central nervous system damage, especially to the brain. Developing brain cells and structures can be malformed or have development interrupted by prenatal alcohol exposure; this can create an array of primary cognitive and functional disabilities (including poor memory, attention deficits, impulsive behavior, and poor cause-effect reasoning) as well as secondary disabilities (for example, predispositions to mental health problems and drug addiction). Alcohol exposure presents a risk of fetal brain damage at any point during a pregnancy, since brain development is ongoing throughout pregnancy.
Fetal alcohol exposure is the leading known cause of mental retardation in the Western world. In the United States and Europe, the FAS prevalence rate is estimated to be between 0.2-2 in every 1000 live births. FAS should not be confused with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), a condition which describes a continuum of permanent birth defects caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, which includes FAS, as well as other disorders, and which affects about 1% of live births in the US. The lifetime medical and social costs of FAS are estimated to be as high as US$800,000 per child born with the disorder.
Other articles related to "alcohol, fetal alcohol syndrome, fetal":
... "Alcohol teratogenesis and fetal alcohol syndrome." In L ... "Fetal alcohol syndrome fetal alcohol spectrum disorders." In M.L ... "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome" ...
... Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was named in 1973 by two dysmorphologists, Drs ... documenting the risk of maternal alcohol consumption among the offspring of 11 alcoholic mothers ... Sterling Clarren, had confirmed that alcohol was a teratogen ...
... Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is categorized as a group of birth defects ranging from mental retardation to various growth and behavioral problems ... for legislation to bring public attention to the dangers of alcohol use by pregnant women ...
... Animal studies of fetal development have indicated a critical period for the type of neuronal injury that causes fetal alcohol syndrome ... In mice, for example, alcohol exposure around the 7th day of gestation can cause facial abnormalities associated with FAS (Coles 1994) ... exposure later in gestation, even if a larger amount of alcohol is consumed in the later stages of pregnancy ...
Famous quotes containing the words syndrome and/or alcohol:
“[T]he syndrome known as life is too diffuse to admit of palliation. For every symptom that is eased, another is made worse. The horse leechs daughter is a closed system. Her quantum of wantum cannot vary.”
—Samuel Beckett (19061989)
“Some parents feel that if they introduce their children to alcohol gradually in the home environment, the children will learn to use alcohol in moderation. Im not sure thats such a good idea. First of all, alcohol is not healthy for the growing child. Second, introducing alcohol to a child suggests that you condone drinkingeven to the point where you want to teach your child how to drink.”
—Lawrence Balter (20th century)