A more recent article on fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is available. To complement the Annual Clinical Focus on medical genomics, AFP will be publishing a series of short reviews on genetic syndromes. This series was designed to increase awareness of these diseases so that family physicians can recognize and diagnose children with these disorders and understand the kind of care they might require in the future.
Women who drink alcohol during pregnancy can give birth to babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, sometimes known as FASDs.
Fetal alcohol syndrome FAS was first coined in to describe individuals who had been prenatally exposed to amounts of alcohol and demonstrated a particular pattern of facial characteristics, growth delay and brain impairment. Research has since shown that only a minority of individuals prenatally exposed to alcohol will actually demonstrate any facial anomalies or delayed growth. The diagnosis of FAS, using these criteria, was missing many individuals who had an invisible disability but still required significant support.
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