Fetal alcohol syndrome.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Fetal alcohol syndrome (Risk factors)
Fetal alcohol syndrome (Development and progression)
Fetal alcohol syndrome (Complications and side effects)
Alcohols (Health aspects)
Fetus (Effect of alcohol on)
Fetus (Risk factors)
Fetus (Development and progression)
Fetus (Complications and side effects)
Pub Date: 11/01/2008
Publication: Name: South African Medical Journal Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0256-9574
Issue: Date: Nov, 2008 Source Volume: 98 Source Issue: 11
Product: SIC Code: 2869 Industrial organic chemicals, not elsewhere classified
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 204550824
Full Text: The fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) has huge social and economic implications for South African society. FAS is caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol and includes some or all of the following features: facial dysmorphism, prenatal and/or postnatal growth retardation, and neurological, cognitive and behavioural abnormalities. The dop system (alcohol forming part of labourers' wages on wine farms) is believed to have played a role in entrenching binge-drinking. Urban and colleagues (3) investigated the prevalence of FAS among schoolgoing children in the Northern Cape province, South Africa.

Their study found an extremely high prevalence of FAS (nearly 1 in 10)--higher than previously reported in the Western Cape province. Rates of FAS reported from South Africa are generally much higher than in other countries, where rates of FAS seldom exceed 10/1 000, even in high-risk populations. Noteworthy are the findings that the FAS rate is higher in De Aar (a sheep-farming area) than Upington (a wine-farming area) and that FAS was not limited to a specific ethnic group.

Children with FAS or partial FAS performed poorly across a broad range of neurodevelopmental domains, including markedly lower intellectual functioning and attention deficits.
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