Study suggests new way to screen infants for fetal alcohol syndrome

Mar 05, 2008

Children who have been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) are more likely to have serious psychiatric and behavioral problems later in life, including a higher risk for dropping out of school, unemployment, and criminal behavior. Studies have shown that early intervention is a key element in minimizing the negative effects of FAS.

Unfortunately, the early diagnosis of FAS is not always possible, especially if certain physical characteristics are not present. However, a study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics suggests a new way to diagnose infants affected by FAS.

Dr. Jennifer Peterson, currently at the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues from Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, and the Mary Ann Swetland Center for Environmental Health, studied a group of 216 infants whose mothers drank various amounts of alcohol during pregnancy. The levels of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE), which are produced when alcohol is broken down in the digestive system, were measured in the first bowel movement of the newborns. The babies were then given developmental tests at the ages of six months, one year, and two years.

Infants with higher levels of FAEE in their first bowel movement were found to be at risk for developmental disorders. According to Dr. Peterson, “Increasing levels of FAEE were significantly associated with poorer mental and psychomotor development during the first two years of life.” She also notes that “early intervention for such at risk children could minimize disabilities and improve developmental outcomes.” Measuring the levels of FAEE in an infant’s first bowel movement could be a useful method for identifying children at risk for FAS, which may make early intervention possible.

Source: Elsevier

Explore further: Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US official: Auto safety agency under review

6 hours ago

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Out-of-patience investors sell off Amazon

6 hours ago

Amazon has long acted like an ideal customer on its own website: a freewheeling big spender with no worries about balancing a checkbook. Investors confident in founder and CEO Jeff Bezos' invest-and-expand ...

Ebola.com domain sold for big payout

6 hours ago

The owners of the website Ebola.com have scored a big payday with the outbreak of the epidemic, selling the domain for more than $200,000 in cash and stock.

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments : 0