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Research team says fetal alcohol syndrome more prevalent than once believed

November 5, 2015
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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New research indicates that previous estimates of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) affecting around three children per 1,000 population may have been significantly understated.

Publishing in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, University of North Carolina Nutrition Research Institute research professor Philip May, PhD, and colleagues state that research methods placing individuals in schools for evaluations uncover an FAS prevalence of three to eight children per 1,000. One of these efforts, conducted in the Rocky Mountain region, took four years to complete and screened 2,300 first-graders for height, weight and head circumference, with follow-up testing for some students.

“We do these studies of major developmental disabilities in first grade populations because we can more easily identify a number of developmental challenges through the dysmorphology of the physical features, through the cognition and behaviors that they display and the IQ, executive function and memory tests we give,” May said in a news release last week.

May added that in his team's extensive research into FAS, it has discovered that a number of nutritional and cognitive-behavioral interventions can bring about brain repair in alcohol-affected children.

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