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Contempo Updates
Clinician's Corner
December 10, 2003

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

JAMA. 2003;290(22):2996-2999. doi:10.1001/jama.290.22.2996

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), currently considered part of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), was first described in 1973.1 Although much has been learned in 30 years, substantial challenges remain in diagnosing and preventing this disorder. Our goal is to summarize what has recently been reported with respect to fetal alcohol terminology, identification, effects, prevalence, and prevention of exposure. We will emphasize how fetal alcohol exposure is routinely underidentified and what is known about who is at risk. With this knowledge, physicians should be better able to identify at-risk pregnancies and alcohol-affected individuals and address fetal alcohol exposure in the clinical setting.

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