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Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2007 Aug 15;145C(3):261-72.

Challenges of diagnosis in fetal alcohol syndrome and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder in the adult.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Manitoba, Manitoba. achudley@hsc.mb.ca


Adults with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and the subsets of individuals with attenuated phenotype subsumed under the umbrella term of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) provide clinicians with a challenge. Compounding this, FASD is different from most genetic syndromes since a specific diagnostic biological test is not available. The diagnosis first needs to be suspected and confirmation requires a diagnostic assessment that is best carried out in the context of a multi-disciplinary team approach. There is surprisingly little research published on the prevalence, natural history, medical, and social complications relevant to adults with FASD. The evidence that is emerging suggests that this disorder is common, and that services to diagnose and treat these individuals are limited. Adults with FASD have a higher incidence of impairments in social adaptive and executive function, and a higher degree of psychopathology when compared to the general population. The impact of FASD has significant and serious effects on those affected with FASD, their families, and our communities. There is a need for improved access to diagnosis, and more research and evaluation of interventions currently in use. In this paper, we describe the current diagnostic criteria, the differential diagnosis, the prevalence, natural history, the behavioral and mental health consequences, medical and social management issues, and interventions for adults affected with this disorder.

(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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