Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (cont.)

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What is the diagnosis "fetal alcohol effects"?

Fetal alcohol effects (FAE) is a softer diagnosis than FAS. The diagnosis of possible FAE is considered when

  1. the person has some signs of FAS,

  2. the person does not meet all of the necessary criteria for FAS,

  3. and there is a history of alcohol exposure before birth.

What problems are peculiar to children with fetal alcohol syndrome?

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With time, FAS children tend to have eye, ear, and dental problems. Myopia (nearsightedness) may develop. Problems with the eustachian tube leading to the middle ear set the stage for ear infections. There is frequent malalignment and malocclusion of the teeth. Children with FAS have enough difficulty in life without the additional burden of not being able to see, hear, and eat normally. These deficits should be treated appropriately.

Behavior problems in FAS are manifold, including unpredictable extreme mood swings, impulsiveness, diminished judgment, attention deficit, lack of normal self-discipline, irresponsibility, and difficulty taking social cues.

What causes fetal alcohol syndrome?

The ultimate cause is alcohol intake by the pregnant mother. However, alcohol itself may not be directly responsible for all (or any) of the features of FAS. What may be responsible are byproducts generated when the body metabolizes ("burns") alcohol. The end result is a decrease in the number of brain cells (neurons), abnormal location of neurons (due to disturbance of their normal migration during fetal development), and gross malformation of the brain.

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Signs and Symptoms Question: Do you know someone affected by fetal alcohol syndrome? What were the first symptoms and signs of the condition?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Other Problems Question: What problems (for example, eye, ear, teeth, hearing) has the child you know with fetal alcohol syndrome encountered?
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Drinking While Pregnant Question: Did you or your mother drink during pregnancy? Please discuss any concerns, including the outcome.