NIH statement on International FASD Awareness Day
Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the United States.
Akinso: Prenatal alcohol exposure is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disorders in the United States. Dr. Kenneth Warren, a director here at the NIH, says the recent awareness day is a way to remind people of the risks.
Warren: September 9th is the 9th day of the 9th month of the year. And for about the last ten years it has been designated as by countries around the world as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Day; the day when we pay particular attention to the risk of drinking during pregnancy.
Akinso: Almost 40 years have passed since it has been recognized that drinking during pregnancy can result in a wide range of disabilities for children, of which fetal alcohol syndrome is the most severe. Surprisingly about 30 percent of women report drinking alcohol during pregnancy. Dr. Warren explains the characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome.
Warren: Fetal alcohol syndrome was characterized by three major features. The first of which is growth reduction. The second of which is a unique pattern of facial features, which are in themselves fairly subtle. And the third characteristic, are a range of cognitive and neurological deficits.
Akinso: The neurological deficits include intellectual disabilities, speech and language delays, and poor social skills. These deficits can exist without the classic defining facial characteristics. Dr. Warren has some advice for women who may want to have a drink during pregnancy.
Warren: The kind of advice that I would give is to wait until the pregnancy is over.
Akinso: For more information on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, visit www.niaaa.nih.gov. For NIH Radio, this is Wally Akinso— NIH...Turning Discovery Into Health®