Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome


Fetal and fetal alcohol syndrome (Andrew) is the pattern of mental and physical defects that may develop into the fetus when the woman drinks alcohol during pregnancy. Timing and frequency of alcohol consumption during pregnancy are important risk factors that the child will develop fetal alcohol syndrome. Although alcohol intake is not always in FAS, there are no established medical guidelines levels of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Current recommendation of both Surgeon General of United States and British Department of Health does not drink alcohol during pregnancy.


Alcohol crosses placental barrier and can prevent fetal growth or weight, create distinctive facial stigmata, damage neurons and brain structures, which can lead to psychological or behavioral problems, and cause other physical damage. Surveys found that in United States, 10-15% of pregnant women report having recently used alcohol, and up to 30% alcohol at some time during pregnancy. Main effect of FAS is permanent central nervous system damage, especially to brain. development of brain cells and structures may be incorrect or arrested development by prenatal exposure to alcohol, which can create an array of primary cognitive and functional disabilities (including poor memory, attention deficits, impulsive behavior, and reasoning Poor cause and effect) as well as secondary disabilities (e.g., predisposition to mental health problems and drug addiction). Alcohol exposure presents the risk of fetal brain damage at any time during pregnancy, because brain development is ongoing throughout your pregnancy. (Karp & Davis 1995) (Sullivan 1899)

Measurement of FAS facial features uses criteria developed by University of Washington. lip and philtrum are measured by the physician trained in lip-philtrum guide, the Likert scale of 5 points with representative photographs of combinations of lips and philtrum ranging from normal (ranked 1) to severe (in position 5). Palpebral fissure length (PFL) is measured in millimeters with either calipers or the clear ruler and then compared with the growth chart PFL, also developed by University of Washington. (Jones & Smith 1973)

Central nervous system (CNS) is main feature of any fetal alcohol syndrome (FASD) diagnosis. Prenatal exposure to alcohol - which is classified as the teratogen - it can damage brain through the continuous series of gross violations of subtle problems, depending on amount, timing and frequency of exposure and genetic predisposition of fetus and mother. While functional abnormalities are behavioral and cognitive expressions of disability FAS, CNS damage can be assessed in three areas: structural deficiencies, neurological and functional.

Four diagnostic systems allow evaluation of CNS damage in these areas, but criteria vary. IOM system requires structural or neurological impairment for diagnosis of FAS. "4-digit Diagnostic Code" and CDC guidelines suggest that functional abnormalities must be less than two standard deviations or worse in three or more functional domains for diagnosis of FAS. "4-digit Diagnostic Code" further elaborates on degree of CNS damage according to four ranks:

• Defined - structural or neurological deficits for FAS or static encephalopathy.

• Likely - significant dysfunction of two standard deviations or worse in three or more functional ...
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