Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders—Implications for Child Neurology, Part 2: Diagnosis and Management

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In part 1, we discussed the mechanism of alcohol exposure, dosimetry, and the teratogenic pathways of damage to the fetus. In part 2, we review the diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders and the developmental implications of prenatal alcohol exposure. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are associated with increased rates of mental retardation, seizure disorders, brain malformations, and premature mortality. The risk of comorbid disorders is increased among this population, which enhances phenotype severity and complexity of management. Recurrence rates are high and younger siblings tend to be more severely affected. Detection of prenatal alcohol use warrants substance abuse intervention, which can avoid exposure in subsequent pregnancies. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are common developmental disorders with a phenotype that is influenced by both age and development and require long-term management. Child neurologists are essential in the diagnosis and management of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

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