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Editorial
August 21, 2017

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder—High Rates, High Needs, High Time for Action

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
  • 2Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
JAMA Pediatr. Published online August 21, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2017.2232

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a common condition that affects a substantial number of children, adolescents, and adults. Individuals can manifest FASD in a variety of ways, with many comorbidities. They can present with birth defects, learning difficulties, intellectual disability, academic struggles, behavioral and psychiatric issues (eg, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, depression, and drug and alcohol addiction), and difficulties with the law, with a risk for incarceration, unemployment, poverty, and dependency.1 Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is important because it can potentially be prevented, and early recognition and diagnosis can lead to earlier interventions and supports that are associated with improved outcomes.2 Prevention is important because FASD is associated with a high cost to affected individuals, families, systems of care, and communities.

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