Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are more common than thought, say researchers at congressional briefing

shutterstock_150706244-500x333Many women aren’t fully aware of the risks associated with drinking while pregnant, and the public needs more information on the symptoms and severity of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), according to experts who spoke at a congressional briefing.

FASD is more common than researchers had thought, George F. Koob, PhD, who directs the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, said at the briefing on April 13, which was co-hosted by APA’s Science Directorate Government Relations Office. New research shows that FASD affects 2.4 percent to 4.8 percent of U.S. children when partial cases are included (Pediatrics, 2014). Though more research is needed, the institute has made some progress in treating the condition, including funding the development of a 3-D scanning technique that decodes changes in a child’s facial structure due to the disorder, helping doctors diagnose it.

Early diagnosis and treatment are essential since FASD is associated with…

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