Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome

fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), pattern of physical, developmental, and psychological abnormalities seen in babies born to mothers who consumed alcohol during pregnancy. The abnormalities include low birthweight, facial deformities, and mental retardation, and there appears to be an association with impulsive behavior, anxiousness, and an inability on the part of the affected children to understand the consequences of their actions. When some but not all of these abnormalities are present, they are referred to as fetal alcohol effects (FAE). FAE has been observed in children of mothers who drank as little as two drinks per week during pregnancy. FAS affects 1 to 2 babies per 1,000 born worldwide. Many require constant lifelong supervision and end up institutionalized because of dysfunction in the family. FAS was first defined as a syndrome in 1973, although it has been observed for centuries. See also alcoholism.

See M. Dorris, The Broken Cord: A Family's Ongoing Struggle with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (1989).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

"An Argument That Goes Back to the Womb": The Demedicalization of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, 1973-1992
Golden, Janet.
Journal of Social History, Vol. 33, No. 2, Winter 1999
Alcohol and Alcoholism: Effects on Brain and Development
John H. Hannigan; Linda P. Spear; Norman E. Spear; Charles R. Goodlett.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Prenatal Exposure to Alcohol: Effects on Brain Structure and Neuropsychological Functioning"
Handbook of Pediatric Psychology in School Settings
Ronald T. Brown.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 21 "Teratology of Alcohol: Implications for School Settings"
Fetal Alcohol Exposure and Attention: Moving beyond ADHD
Coles, Claire D.
Alcohol Research, Vol. 25, No. 3, Fall 2001
The Effects of Early Adversity on Neurobehavioral Development
Charles A. Nelson.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Teratogenic Insult and Neurobehavioral Function in Infancy and Childhood"
Neurobehavioral Plasticity: Learning, Development, and Response to Brain Insults
Norman E. Spear; Linda P. Spear; Michael L. Woodruff.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 16 "Behavioral Plasticity after Teratogenic Alcohol Exposure as Recovery of Function"
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