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Alcohol and the developing fetus - a review

Joydeep D. Chaudhuri

Med Sci Monit 2000; 6(5): RA1031-1041

ID: 508074

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is a collection of signs and symptoms seen in some children exposed to alcohol in the prenatal period. It is characterized mainly by physical and mental retardation, craniofacial anomalies and minor joint abnormalities. However, with the increasing incidence of FAS, there is a great variation in the clinical features of FAS. This article describes in detail these clinical features. Due to ethical reasons it is not possible to perform experiments on pregnant women. Hence to study the effects of alcohol, various animal and avian experimental models have been chosen. The various experimental findings and human correlation are described. The exact mechanism by which alcohol induces its teratogenic effects is not known. The possible mechanisms are discussed. Measures to prevent the occurrence of FAS have been suggested.

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