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February 6, 2018

Implications of Higher Than Expected Prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 3Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy & Center of Clinical Epidemiology and Longitudinal Studies, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany
  • 4Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 6Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2018;319(5):448-449. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21895

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are a group of serious, chronic, systemic diseases that are caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and characterized by central nervous system damage and physical deficits that subsequently lead to a wide range of permanent and lifelong health consequences. Individuals exposed to alcohol prenatally are at greater risk of having comorbid conditions1 and premature mortality2 than individuals who have not been exposed to alcohol prenatally. The financial burden associated with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders is substantial, estimated to cost (Can) $1.8 billion to Canadian society in 2013.3

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