Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are identified as a category of birth disorders caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. These can include physical or intellectual anomalies, such as cardiac, skeletal, visual, aural, and fine or gross motor problems. (Callanan, 2013) Prevention would involve alcohol use prevention programs for women who are pregnant, and treatment for FAS and FASD would be aimed at helping those affected realize their full potential through both family and individual interventions. While there is no cure for FAS or FASD, appropriate treatments can aide individuals with these diagnoses to minimize the effects.
According to the British Medical Association in 2007, FASD is the leading cause of intellectual disabilities that do not have a genetic cause in the Western World. (Callanan, 2013) In the United States, FASD is said to affect approximately 9.1 in every 1000 births. (Greene, 2007) In the mid-19th century, the British noted that babies born to mothers who were alcoholics had a shriveled appearance, and were smaller than typical. (Jones & Streissguth, 2010) In spite of this, no additional research was undertaken until 1973 in the United States, when Dr. Shirley Anderson began following 11 different children who had been born to mothers who were alcoholics. As she followed them through childhood, she noted similar physical and facial characteristics in four of those children, including “microcephaly, short palpebral fissures, and a smooth philtrum.” (Jones & Streissguth, 2010) This led to the identification of multiple other children with similar abnormalities, and who also demonstrated varying degrees of global developmental delays. Based on these observations an...

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