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Rekindling awareness for the new millennium. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Persists. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Persists. Research strong in 1970’s-1980’s Culture insures the problem persists Fetal damage: body, mind, social issues Nature insures the problem persists

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Fetal alcohol syndrome persists l.jpg

Rekindling awareness for the new millennium

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Persists


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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Persists

  • Research strong in 1970’s-1980’s

    • Culture insures the problem persists

  • Fetal damage: body, mind, social issues

    • Nature insures the problem persists

  • Topic bridges the gap between science, medical, clinical, social, and practical


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“Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) now is recognized as the leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

Ann Streissguth, Ph.D

FAS Problem, Researchers


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Late-term fetus leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

Placenta structure and function

Umbilical cord

Alcohol reduces oxygen to fetus

Alcohol reduces AA’s, glucose & vitamins passing thru placenta

Alcohol Affects Placenta


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Migrating Nascent Neurons leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”


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Teratogen: Alcohol leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

  • Maternal blood alcohol concentration

  • Alcohol breakdown (liver) elimination

  • Fetus BAC

  • Alcohol diffusion across placenta

    • High concentration to low

    • No liver enzymes to breakdown alcohol

    • Alcohol diffuses out when mother BAC is lower than fetal BAC


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“The Mind” FAS leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”


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Lip-Philtrum Guide leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”


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Alcohol as a Teratogen leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

  • FAS/FAE continuum: who is affected?

  • Agent: Alcohol

  • Dose: light, moderate, heavy, binge

  • Timing: 1st, 2nd, 3rd trimester

  • Genetic/metabolic factors: enzymes

  • Nutritional: vitamins, prenatal care

  • Polydrug use: smoking, others


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FASD Changes leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

  • Cognitive changes

    • Intelligence

    • Math weakness

  • Social changes

    • Several antisocial behaviors

    • Prison time

  • FAS induced static encephalopathy

    • Several abnormalities


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FASD Developmental Changes leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

Physical alterations:

  • Face, less noticeable

  • Size, smaller than average

  • Cognitive changes (few alterations)

    • Math problems persist

    • Abstract thinking, problem solving same

  • Social problems same or worse


  • Fasd social challenges l.jpg
    FASD Social Challenges leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • Failure to consider consequences

    • Unresponsive to subtle social cues

    • Lack of friendships

    • Stubbornness or sullenness

    • Low self-esteem

    • Social withdrawal

    • Teasing or bullying

    • Dishonesty

    • Excessive unhappiness


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    FASD School Challenges leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • Lack of initiative

    • Poor concentration

    • Poor math skills

    • Dependency

    • Impulsivity

    • ADHD symptoms

    • Adverse relationships with teachers


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    FASD Adult Challenges leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • Delinquent behaviors

    • Sexual problems

      • Pregnancy, paternity

      • STD’s

    • Not able to find and hold jobs

    • Drug use and abuse including alcohol

    • Prison recidivism, est. 1/5 prisoners FAS


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    FAS Statistics leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • Over 10,000 births/day in USA

    • FAS births: 1/700 = 14/day

    • FAE disorders: 1/100 = 100/day

    • Over 90% FAS/FAE develop mental probs

    • Lifetime cost: $5M/FAS person

    • Taxpayers cost: $5M/day, $1.9B/year


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    Alternatives & Solutions leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • Challenges:

      • Clinicians have a good understanding of alcohol’s ability to damage CNS

      • Educators inform themselves & students

      • Parental involvement = better outcomes

      • Community assistance

        • Living/working arrangements

        • Alternatives to prison


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    Teacher’s Opportunities leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    • More info:  NEW  K-12 Curriculum Available from NOFAS from CDC education and prevention program

    • PPT show package about FAS

    • Resource guide for teachers working with FAS students

    • Biological Psychology can be useful

    • Students will make choices

    • Informed students make better choices


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    Off to a Great Start… leading known cause of mental retardation in the US, surpassing Down syndrome and spina bifida.”

    Ashley M Lorenz


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