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Dysmorphic features in offspring of alcoholic mothers.
  1. I Autti-Rämö,
  2. E Gaily,
  3. M L Granström
  1. Department of Child Neurology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


    The frequencies of 60 minor physical anomalies and various craniofacial measurements in 52 children with alcohol exposure of various durations in utero were determined and compared with 48 non-exposed healthy children at a mean age of 27 months. Compared with non-exposed children a significantly higher total minor physical anomaly count was observed in those children exposed prenatally to alcohol throughout pregnancy. Binge drinking was not associated with an increased minor physical anomaly count. During the first year of life facial features were judged according to subjective impression: 10 children had typical facial features of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and 19 children were judged to have possible fetal alcohol effects on their face. Only six of them fulfilled the strict craniofacial criteria for diagnosis of FAS at the age of 27 months. Our results stress the importance of recognising also the subtle dysmorphic facial features associated with prenatal alcohol exposure: 22 of 29 (76%) of exposed children judged to have typical or possible features of FAS during the first year showed signs of central nervous system dysfunction at the age of 27 months.

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