Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Essay

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) refers to a group of physical and mental birth defects resulting from a women’s drinking alcohol heavily or at crucial stages during pregnancy. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome was first named and treated in the late 1960's. This condition results from the toxic effect of alcohol and its chemical factors on the developing fetus. FAS is the leading cause of mental retardation occurring in 1 out of every 750 births. The frequency of FAS occurs about 1.9 times out of every 1000 births according to the latest figures, and minor effects can be seen in up to 20% of pregnancies per year. This number changes drastically for women who are clearly alcoholics. As high as 29 children out of every 1000 births will suffer from FAS …show more content…
In the United States, epidemiological data suggest that the rates of FAS tend to higher in African American and Native Americans than whites of similar socioeconomic status. A survey complied by the centers for disease control and prevention reviewed more than 4.6 million births in approximately 1,200 hospitals and showed considerable differences in occurrence of FAS among racial groups. The reason for variance among these groups remains unclear. Among Native Americans, rates of FAS even varied between the different tribes. This may be attributed to nutrition, fertility, or metabolic differences in the genetic makeup of each tribe. Also Native American family culture can influence drinking patterns often leading to a higher rate of alcohol consumption.

Among factors to consider, alcohol consumption is frequently associated with drug abuse, smoking, and malnutrition. All of these factors can cause serious harm to the developing embryo of a child. It is difficult for researchers to decide which effects are caused by alcohol alone.

To clearly distinguish a child as having FAS poses a difficult thing for researchers. They soon began to realize that they were encountering children with some, but not all the classical signs of FAS. Because a diagnosis of FAS demands the presence of all three hallmarks, (growth deficiency, central nervous system dysfunction, and

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