An analysis of the fetal alcohol syndrome in babies

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a disorder caused by alcohol exposure in the womb. Alcohol interferes with brain development in the fetus. It also causes unusual physical features in the fetus, including facial structure abnormalities and bone growth deficiencies.

An analysis of the fetal alcohol syndrome in babies

Cause[ edit ] Fetal alcohol syndrome usually occurs when a pregnant woman has more than four standard drinks per day. On the contrary, clinical and animal studies have identified a broad spectrum of pathways through which maternal alcohol can negatively affect the outcome of a pregnancy.

Clear conclusions with universal validity are difficult to draw, since different ethnic groups show considerable genetic polymorphism for the hepatic enzymes responsible for ethanol detoxification.

The so-called placental barrier is of almost no barrier with respect to ethanol. The developing fetal nervous system appears particularly sensitive to ethanol toxicity.

The latter interferes with proliferation, differentiation, neuronal migration, axonic outgrowth, integration, and fine-tuning of the synaptic network. In short, all major processes in the developing central nervous system appear compromised. Fetal tissues are quite different from adult tissues in function and purpose.

For example, the main detoxicating organ in adults is the liverwhereas the fetal liver is incapable of detoxifying ethanol, as the ADH and ALDH enzymes have not yet been brought to expression at this early stage.

An analysis of the fetal alcohol syndrome in babies

Up to term, fetal tissues do not have significant capacity for the detoxification of ethanol, and the fetus remains exposed to ethanol in the amniotic fluid for periods far longer than the decay time of ethanol in the maternal circulation.

The lack of significant quantities of ADH and ALDH means that fetal tissues have much lower quantities of antioxidant enzymes, like SODglutathione transferases, and glutathion peroxidasesresulting in antioxidant protection being much less effective. This complicates diagnosis and treatment [22] of the syndrome.

As a result, diagnosis of the severity of FASD relies on protocols of observation of the child's physiology and behavior rather than maternal self-reporting. The Institute of Medicine 's guidelines for FAS, the first system to standardize diagnoses of individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure; [16] The University of Washington 's "The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code," which ranks the four key features of FASD on a Likert scale of one to four and yields descriptive codes that can be categorized into 22 distinct clinical categories, ranging from FAS to no findings; [20] The Centers for Disease Control 's "Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A positive finding on all four features is required for a diagnosis of FAS.

However, prenatal alcohol exposure and central nervous system damage are the critical elements of the spectrum of FASD, and a positive finding in these two features is sufficient for an FASD diagnosis that is not "full-blown FAS".

While the four diagnostic systems essentially agree on criteria for fetal alcohol syndrome FASthere are still differences when full criteria for FAS are not met.

An analysis of the fetal alcohol syndrome in babies

This has resulted in differing and evolving nomenclature for other conditions across the spectrum of FASD, which may account for such a wide variety of terminology.

Most individuals with deficits resulting from prenatal alcohol exposure do not express all features of FAS and fall into other FASD conditions.

However, these other FASD conditions may create disabilities similar to FAS if the key area of central nervous system damage shows clinical deficits in two or more of ten domains of brain functioning.

In these other FASD conditions, an individual may be at greater risk for adverse outcomes because brain damage is present without associated visual cues of poor growth or the "FAS face" that might ordinarily trigger an FASD evaluation.

Such individuals may be misdiagnosed with primary mental health disorders such as ADHD or oppositional defiance disorder without appreciation that brain damage is the underlying cause of these disorders, which requires a different treatment paradigm than typical mental health disorders.

Fetal alcohol syndrome[ edit ] The following criteria must be fully met for an FAS diagnosis: Prenatal or postnatal height or weight or both at or below the 10th percentile [21] FAS facial features: All three FAS facial features present [28] Central nervous system damage: Clinically significant structural neurological, or functional impairment Prenatal alcohol exposure: To make this diagnosis or determine any FASD condition, a multi-disciplinary evaluation is necessary to assess each of the four key features for assessment.

Generally, a trained physician will determine growth deficiency and FAS facial features. These professionals work together as a team to assess and interpret data of each key feature for assessment and develop an integrative, multi-disciplinary report to diagnose FAS or other FASD conditions in an individual.

People with pFAS have a confirmed history of prenatal alcohol exposure, but may lack growth deficiency or the complete facial stigmata.

Central nervous system damage is present at the same level as FAS. These individuals have the same functional disabilities but "look" less like FAS. The following criteria must be fully met for a diagnosis of Partial FAS: Growth or height may range from normal to deficient [21] FAS facial features: Two or three FAS facial features present [28] Central nervous system damage: Clinically significant structural, neurological, or functional impairment in three or more of the Ten Brain Domains [43] Prenatal alcohol exposure: Confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure Fetal alcohol effects[ edit ] Fetal alcohol effects FAE is a previous term for alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder and alcohol-related birth defects.

The Canadian guidelines also use this diagnosis and the same criteria. While the "4-Digit Diagnostic Code" includes these criteria for three of its diagnostic categories, it refers to this condition as static encephalopathy.Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition in a child that results from alcohol exposure during the mother's pregnancy.

Fetal alcohol syndrome causes brain damage and growth problems.

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Developing Immune System

The problems caused by fetal alcohol syndrome vary from child to child, but defects caused by fetal alcohol syndrome are not reversible. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is growth, mental, and physical problems that may occur in a baby when a mother drinks alcohol during pregnancy.

Causes Using alcohol during pregnancy can cause the same risks as using alcohol in general. Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term for the different diagnoses, which include Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, and Alcohol-related birth defects.

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is the umbrella term for the different diagnoses, which include Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder, and Alcohol-related birth defects.

Estimating the Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Summary

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a permanent birth defect syndrome caused by maternal consumption of alcohol during pregnancy (Jones & Smith, ). FAS is characterized by growth deficiency, a specific cluster of minor facial anoma-. Jun 30,  · Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most serious consequences of heavy drinking during pregnancy.

FAS is a devastating constellation of birth defects characterized by craniofacial malformations, neurological and motor deficits, intrauterine growth retardation, learning disabilities, and behavioral and social deficits.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder - Wikipedia