Spotlight on Fetal alcohol syndrome

Fetal alcohol syndrome is the most common preventable cause of intellectual disability in the Western world. In addition to inducing developmental delay, gestational alcohol exposure can lead to a variety of neurodevelopmental abnormalities, including epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and academic difficulties. Many of these behavioral deficits in children with fetal alcohol syndrome are due to alcohol-induced neuronal death.

In this updated article, Dr. Nancy Bonthius and Dr. Daniel Bonthius of the University of Iowa discuss alcohol consumption patterns by pregnant women in the United States and how this relates to the prevalence of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. In addition, the authors discuss the neuropathologic changes induced by prenatal alcohol exposure and the role of genetics in determining vulnerability to alcohol-induced brain injury.

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