Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Long-Term Study Assesses Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Outcomes in Adults

A Swedish population study finds that that many of the educational, employment, health, and other outcomes for 79 adults diagnosed as children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) were different from those of a matched comparison group of 3,160 people, said Jenny Rangmar, Ph.L, a doctoral candidate at Gothenburg University, and colleagues in the January Pediatrics.

For instance, the FAS group (average age, 32) were more likely to have received a disability pension (31 percent vs. 3 percent), to have received special education (25 percent vs. 2 percent), and to have higher hospital admission rates for psychiatric disorders (33 percent vs. 5 percent).

However, rates of criminal conviction were slightly but not significantly higher for the FAS group and were actually lower than a subset of the comparison group that had been placed in state care. Of those who did receive special education, about 60 percent completed high school, suggesting some disabilities “may be ameliorated by protective factors like special education and assistance in school.” Finally, 49 percent of FAS subjects were employed, although probably in lower-paying jobs than their peers, the researchers noted.

These results may have been influenced by an early diagnosis of FAS, providing “a protective effect because it may give children benefit from appropriate services,” said Rangmar and colleagues.

To read more about studies of fetal exposure to substances of abuse, see the Psychiatric News article “How Do Abused Drugs Affect Fetus, Newborn?

(Image: ChameleonsEye/


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