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On categorizations in analyses of alcohol teratogenesis.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  10852839     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In biomedical scientific investigations, expositions of findings are conceptually simplest when they comprise comparisons of discrete groups of individuals or involve discrete features or characteristics of individuals. But the descriptive benefits of categorization become outweighed by their limitations in studies involving dose-response relationships, as in many teratogenic and environmental exposure studies. This article addresses a pair of categorization issues concerning the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure that have important public health consequences: the labeling of individuals as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) versus fetal alcohol effects (FAE) or alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and the categorization of prenatal exposure dose by thresholds. We present data showing that patients with FAS and others with FAE do not have meaningfully different behavioral performance, standardized scores of IQ, arithmetic and adaptive behavior, or secondary disabilities. Similarly overlapping distributions on measures of executive functioning offer a basis for identifying alcohol-affected individuals in a manner that does not simply reflect IQ deficits. At the other end of the teratological continuum, we turn to the reporting of threshold effects in dose-response relationships. Here we illustrate the importance of multivariate analyses using data from the Seattle, Washington, longitudinal prospective study on alcohol and pregnancy. Relationships between many neurobehavioral outcomes and measures of prenatal alcohol exposure are monotone without threshold down to the lowest nonzero levels of exposure, a finding consistent with reports from animal studies. In sum, alcohol effects on the developing human brain appear to be a continuum without threshold when dose and behavioral effects are quantified appropriately.
P D Sampson; A P Streissguth; F L Bookstein; H M Barr
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Environmental health perspectives     Volume:  108 Suppl 3     ISSN:  0091-6765     ISO Abbreviation:  Environ. Health Perspect.     Publication Date:  2000 Jun 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-10-23     Completed Date:  2000-10-23     Revised Date:  2009-11-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330411     Medline TA:  Environ Health Perspect     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  421-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Central Nervous System Depressants / adverse effects*
Developmental Disabilities / classification*
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Ethanol / adverse effects*
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome / classification*
Infant, Newborn
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
Risk Assessment
Severity of Illness Index
Grant Support
R01 AA10836/AA/NIAAA NIH HHS; R01 AA14055-01-25/AA/NIAAA NIH HHS; R04 CCR 008515//PHS HHS
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Central Nervous System Depressants; 64-17-5/Ethanol

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Environ Health Perspect
ISSN: 0091-6765
Article Information
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Print publication date: Month: 6 Year: 2000
Volume: 108 Issue: Suppl 3
First Page: 421 Last Page: 428
ID: 1637818
PubMed Id: 10852839
Publisher Item Identifier: sc271_5_1835

On categorizations in analyses of alcohol teratogenesis.
P D Sampson
A P Streissguth
F L Bookstein
H M Barr
Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Article Categories:
  • Research Article

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