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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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FETAL ALCOHOL SYNDROME (FAS) is the leading known cause of mental retardation and birth defects in the world.1,2 It is caused by in utero exposure to alcohol and is entirely preventable. Because alcohol is a known teratogen and the damage done to a fetus by alcohol exposure is permanent, public education about the dangers of prenatal alcohol exposure has been extensive. Nevertheless, alcohol is a widely accepted and legal social drug, and many pregnant mothers continue to drink it while pregnant. Other mothers drink before they are aware of their pregnancy. This column provides information regarding the incidence of FAS, its etiology, spectrum of effects, and diagnosis. We also discuss potential disabilities that these infants may face as they grow and suggest how to work effectively with the families.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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