Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Alcohol Alcohol. 2001 Mar-Apr;36(2):147-59.

Measuring the facial phenotype of individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure: correlations with brain dysfunction.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health and Community Medicine University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98105, USA.

Abstract

The purpose of this report is to demonstrate how to measure the magnitude of expression of the fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) facial phenotype using the new 4-Digit Diagnostic Code and the previously developed D-score and to demonstrate how these two measures of the FAS facial phenotype correlate with brain function and structure; correlations that fail to be identified by the older gestalt method of facial measurement. The D-score and the facial component of the 4-Digit Diagnostic Code quantitatively measure the magnitude of expression of the FAS facial phenotype using three facial features (palpebral fissure length, philtrum smoothness, and upper lip thinness). These facial measurement systems were developed by the Washington State FAS Diagnostic and Prevention Network (FAS DPN) of clinics and are used to screen and diagnose the facial component of FAS for all patients evaluated in the network of clinics (1500 to date). The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code is a comprehensive diagnostic system developed by the FAS DPN in 1997 to diagnose the full spectrum of outcomes among patients with prenatal alcohol exposure. The four digits reflect the magnitude of expression of the four key diagnostic features of FAS in the following order: (1) growth deficiency; (2) the FAS facial phenotype; (3) brain dysfunction; (4) gestational alcohol exposure. The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code was developed to overcome the subjective, highly variable gestalt method of diagnosis that has been used as the standard to date, worldwide. Prior to the development of the 4-Digit Diagnostic Code, the first 445 patients evaluated in the FAS DPN were diagnosed using the gestalt method. For research purposes, their gestalt diagnoses were transformed into 4-Digit Diagnostic Codes, presenting a unique opportunity to directly compare the two diagnostic methods. When the facial phenotype was measured using the 4-Digit Diagnostic Code or D-score, the magnitude of expression of the FAS facial phenotype was significantly correlated with structural, neurologic, and functional measures of brain damage, and the phenotype of those receiving a 4-Digit Diagnosis of FAS showed little variability. When the gestalt method of diagnosis was used, the magnitude of expression of the FAS facial phenotype did not correlate with structural, neurologic and functional measures of brain damage, and the facial phenotype of those receiving a gestalt diagnosis of FAS was highly variable. The 4-Digit Diagnostic Code and D-score thus provide more precise and accurate measures of the FAS facial phenotype and reveal important correlations with brain structure and function, suggesting that intermediate expressions of the FAS facial phenotype may serve as important risk factors for brain damage caused by prenatal alcohol exposure.

PMID:
11259212
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk