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Ther Umsch. 2000 Apr;57(4):246-52.

[Alcohol and pregnancy--embryopathy and alcohol effects].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Universitätskinderklinik, Münster.


Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a specific polydystrophic pattern of malformations with the following diagnostic criteria: 1. Maternal alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse during pregnancy. 2. Pre- and postnatal deficiency of growth in weight, height and head circumference. 3. Multiple minor and major anomalies recognizable mainly at a typical face. 4. Structural injuries and changes at the central nervous system with complex brain dysfunction combining elements of cognitive impairments, behavioral disturbance and neurological damage. Fetal alcohol effects (FAE) or so-called "alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorders" (ARND) with predominant neurotoxic effects and a large spectrum of cerebral dysfunctions are manifold more frequent than the full-blown FAS. These remain mostly unrecognized, overlooked and they are difficult to be diagnosed, the symptoms being unspecific. Alcohol in pregnancy is nowadays the most important and the most frequent toxic substance for the embryo and the fetus and one of the most frequent causes of mental retardation. The longlasting and irreversible consequences refer to school development, social maturation, social behaviour and later life-style. The diagnosis is based on the careful maternal history and on the clinical findings; there are no biochemical parameters of assessment. The risk of addiction development in these children is assumed to be more than 20 percent.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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