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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Alcohol As A Teratogen, A Historical And Research Perspective Of Fas, Diagnosis And Prevention

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) represents a preventable pattern of clinical abnormalities that develop during embryogenesis (the developmental stages shortly after conception) due to exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. FAS is currently the leading cause of birth defects and developmental delay, with as many as 12,000 babies born affected in the United States each year. Although the prevalence of FAS is not known for certain, it is estimated that there are between 0.5 to three cases of FAS per 1,000 liveborns in most populations. Alcohol is a teratogen in that exposure to the fetus during pregnancy can result in physical malformations of the face and head, growth deficiency and mental retardation. Exposure to excessive amounts of alcohol can even cause embryonic death. It is often difficult to quantify the amount of alcohol that is associated with developmental and physical abnormalities and even subtle amounts might cause varying degrees of developmental delay that are not immediately recognized. For this reason, abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy it is often recommended

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