Essay on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

It is a shame that in today’s "enlightened" society so many preventable diseases and disorders are still occurring. Fetal alcohol syndrome is one of these totally preventable disorders. It is one of the most frequent and important causes of mental and physical retardation in childhood today.

Only in the past decade or so have scientists identified and named this disorder. However, effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy have been suspected for quite some time. In the Old Testament the wife of Menoh is warned not to drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy (Judges 13, 2-25).

Despite all the current information about the negative effects of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, many people are
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Crainio-facial malformations include short palpebral fissures, a poorly developed philtrum, thin upper lip vermillion, short mandibles, a flattened midface structure, and dysplastic ears. Central nervous system involvement is evidenced by mental retardation. Ophthalmological symptoms are present in 90% of FAS children also. These include myopia, ptosis, epicanthus, hypoplasia of optic disc, and torturous retinal vessels.

Besides intellectual impairment, FAS children sometimes also suffer from attention deficits. One study measured four different areas of attention. The results of the FAS children, though significantly more intellectually impaired, correlated strongly in the other three areas with children diagnosed with Attention- Deficit Disorder (Nanson & Hiscock, 1990). These finding are important in that treatment methods developed for ADD children may also be useful in treating FAS children who have an attention deficit.

Autism may also be a disease caused by alcohol exposure of the fetus during pregnancy. Autistic children diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome generally demonstrated a greater degree of mental and growth retardation, as well as a greater number of anomalies. This information tends to suggest that these children suffered a greater degree of alcohol exposure, as compared with non-autistic FAS children (Nanson, 1992).

One other disorder, just recently thought to be

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