Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Essay

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition caused by excessive alcohol consumption by the mother during pregnancy. Various birth defects may be present, including central nervous system dysfunctions and malformations of the skull and face. Fetal alcohol syndrome was first described in France in the late 1960’s, and the United States described it a few years later (Christensen, p1). The condition was extremely difficult to recognize because not every mother who drank excessively bore a child with any abnormalities or symptoms (Christensen, p1). Fetal alcohol syndrome is the leading cause of nonhereditary mental retardation due to the fact that it can affect the central nervous system of the unborn child (Christensen,…show more content…
Many animal studies find no harmful effects on fetuses from alcohol exposure adjusted to their body size, less alcohol than needed to give a person a ‘buzz.’ Some scientists concurred from this that only relatively high doses of alcohol can cause FAS (Christensen, p1) However, drinking any amount of alcohol quickly is relatively more dangerous than drinking the same amount over a longer period of time (Christensen, p1). Alcohol acts on different biochemical pathways and in different areas of the brain, this is why it isn’t clear when the alcohol starts the affect the fetus along with the mother (Christensen, p1). Though, recent studies in France indicate one glass of wine a day may be safe for consumptions, most physicians prefer the mother stays sober during pregnancy. Today, between three and 30 children out of the 10,000 chldren born a day in the United States suffer form fetal alcohol syndrome (Christensen, p1). Most children born with FAS suffer from low birth weights, and distinctive facial features, such as narrow foreheads, small eyes and noses, narrow upper lips and so forth. Children with FAS who lack the tell-tale facial symptoms may still suffer from a wide variety of other conditions. These include attention problems, psychiatric illness, trouble functioning independently, aggression, and hyper activity, all while
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