Prevention of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Prevention Research Branch, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Prevention Team, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.
Developmental Disabilities Research Reviews (Impact Factor: 2.79). 01/2009; 15(3):193-9. DOI: 10.1002/ddrr.75
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alcohol use among women of childbearing age is a leading, preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States. Although most women reduce their alcohol use upon pregnancy recognition, some women report drinking during pregnancy and others may continue to drink prior to realizing they are pregnant. These findings emphasize the need for effective prevention strategies for both pregnant and nonpregnant women who might be at risk for an alcohol-exposed pregnancy (AEP). This report reviews evidence supporting alcohol screening and brief intervention as an effective approach to reducing problem drinking and AEPs that can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. In addition, this article highlights a recent report of the National Task Force on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect that describes effective interventions to reduce alcohol use and AEPs, and outlines recommendations on promoting and improving these strategies. Utilizing evidence-based alcohol screening tools and brief counseling for women at risk for an AEP and other effective population-based strategies can help achieve future alcohol-free pregnancies.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Non-pregnant women can avoid alcohol-exposed pregnancies (AEPs) by modifying drinking and/or contraceptive practices. The purpose of this study was to estimate the number and characteristics of women in the United States who are at risk of AEPs. We analyzed data from in-person interviews obtained from a national probability sample (i.e., the National Survey of Family Growth) of reproductive-aged women conducted from January 2002 to March 2003. To be at risk of AEP, a woman had to have met the following criteria in the last month: (1) was drinking; (2) had vaginal intercourse with a man; and (3) did not use contraception. During a 1-month period, nearly 2 million U.S. women were at risk of an AEP (95 % confidence interval 1,760,079-2,288,104), including more than 600,000 who were binge drinking. Thus, 3.4 %, or 1 in 30, of all non-pregnant women were at risk of an AEP. Most demographic and behavioral characteristics were not clearly associated with AEP risk. However, pregnancy intention was strongly associated with AEP risk (prevalence ratio = 12.0, P < 0.001) because women often continued to drink even after they stopped using contraception. Nearly 2 million U.S. women are at AEP risk and therefore at risk of having children born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. For pregnant women and women intending a pregnancy, there is an urgent need for wider implementation of prevention programs and policy approaches that can reduce the risk for this serious public health problem.
    Maternal and Child Health Journal 07/2014; DOI:10.1007/s10995-014-1563-3 · 2.24 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Stem cells, especially human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), are useful models to study molecular mechanisms of human disorders that originate during gestation. Alcohol (ethanol, EtOH) consumption during pregnancy causes a variety of prenatal and postnatal disorders collectively referred to as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). To better understand the molecular events leading to FASDs, we performed a genome-wide analysis of EtOH's effects on the maintenance and differentiation of hESCs in culture. Gene Co-expression Network Analysis showed significant alterations in gene profiles of EtOH-treated differentiated or undifferentiated hESCs, particularly those associated with molecular pathways for metabolic processes, oxidative stress, and neuronal properties of stem cells. A genome-wide DNA methylome analysis revealed widespread EtOH-induced alterations with significant hypermethylation of many regions of chromosomes. Undifferentiated hESCs were more vulnerable to EtOH's effect than their differentiated counterparts, with methylation on the promoter regions of chromosomes 2, 16 and 18 in undifferentiated hESCs most affected by EtOH exposure. Combined transcriptomic and DNA methylomic analysis produced a list of differentiation-related genes dysregulated by EtOH-induced DNA methylation changes, which likely play a role in EtOH-induced decreases in hESC pluripotency. DNA sequence motif analysis of genes epigenetically altered by EtOH identified major motifs representing potential binding sites for transcription factors. These findings should help in deciphering the precise mechanisms of alcohol-induced teratogenesis.
    Stem Cell Research 04/2014; 12(3):791-806. DOI:10.1016/j.scr.2014.03.009 · 4.47 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The behavioral consequences of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are serious and persist throughout life. The causative mechanisms underlying FASD are poorly understood. However, much has been learned about FASD from human structural and functional studies as well as from animal models, which have provided a greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying FASD. Using animal models of FASD, it has been recently discovered that ethanol induces neuroimmune activation in the developing brain. The resulting microglial activation, production of proinflammatory molecules, and alteration in expression of developmental genes are postulated to alter neuron survival and function and lead to long-term neuropathological and cognitive defects. It has also been discovered that microglial loss occurs, reducing microglia's ability to protect neurons and contribute to neuronal development. This is important, because emerging evidence demonstrates that microglial depletion during brain development leads to long-term neuropathological and cognitive defects. Interestingly, the behavioral consequences of microglial depletion and neuroimmune activation in the fetal brain are particularly relevant to FASD. This chapter reviews the neuropathological and behavioral abnormalities of FASD and delineates correlates in animal models. This serves as a foundation to discuss the role of the neuroimmune system in normal brain development, the consequences of microglial depletion and neuroinflammation, the evidence of ethanol induction of neuroinflammatory processes in animal models of FASD, and the development of anti-inflammatory therapies as a new strategy for prevention or treatment of FASD. Together, this knowledge provides a framework for discussion and further investigation of the role of neuroimmune processes in FASD.
    International Review of Neurobiology 01/2014; 118C:41-80. DOI:10.1016/B978-0-12-801284-0.00003-8 · 2.46 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
Jul 15, 2014