low level exposure - high level disfunction

Barry Stanley, physician,
October 21, 2010

2288 Rougecrest Drive, Oakville, Ontario. Canada. L6H 6N2 tel. 905 257 7869 e-mail bstanley3@cogeco.ca

6th. October, 2010.

Dear Editor.

The SDQ is only a brief screening tool. It is questionable that its reliability extends to the highly charged questions of alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the effects on the child. The BAS is not comprehensive "were more specific abilities need investigating other diagnostic scales can be used to provide more detail"

FASD [ fas and arnd ] is truly a spectrum from the death of the fetus to the articulate and intelligent individual who never the less has the secondary disabilities of FASD to varying degrees. The secondary disabilities are drug and alcohol problems, disrupted school experience, confinement, difficulty maintaining employment and living independently. In addition 94% will eventually be given mental health diagnoses. Adaptive and executive functioning are effected resulting in many issues e.g. money management.

In order to identify the less effected all domains of brain function need to be evaluated, with subtests.

I have seen many times adolescents and adults who are articulate and intelligent yet have chaotic lives, impacting others and society in general. They were never fully evaluated but when they are, as above, then significant deficiencies of brain function are found that account for their difficulties.

The evidence is that the sooner the effects of alcohol on the developing fetus is established the less the secondary disabilities.

There is research that shows low levels of alcohol exposure cause deficiencies in brain function. It is true the research is limited; a reflection of denial by the majority of politicians and professionals.

Although the MCS is an ongoing longitudinal study I am left with the distinct and alarming impression that the two papers to date, and the response of the media, promote the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy rather than the urgent need for more research into the effect on the developing fetus of low levels of alcohol.

I leave the reader with a question- If it is all right to expose the fetus to alcohol during pregnancy is it all right to give the same amount of alcohol to the infant?

Barry Stanley, MB Ch.B, F.R.C.S[C] references provided on request

Conflict of Interest:

physician working with FASD Son 34 diagnosed fasd

Conflict of Interest

None declared