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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) refer to a range of potentially lifelong effects that result from prenatal exposure to alcohol. Alcohol is a teratogen (i.e., an environmental toxin that causes birth defects); it can affect brain development at any stage throughout the gestational process. The umbrella term of FASDs includes fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), partial FAS (pFAS), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBDs). FASDs represent the most preventable cause of intellectual and developmental disabilities. This entry provides an overview of the history, prevalence, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of FASDs. It concludes with recommended future directions for prevention and research.

History

The association between prenatal alcohol exposure and its resulting effects on the developing fetus was first recognized in France by a pediatrician named ...

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