Author(s): Dicke JM
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Abstract Gross anomalies of structure and/or function affect 2 to 4 per cent of all human newborns and are the leading cause of perinatal mortality in this country. Despite their significance, the etiology of most such defects remains unclear. A majority are unassociated with any identifiable cause; a small but significant percentage are attributed to heritable disorders of either a Mendelian (single gene) or chromosomal nature. Drugs and environmental exposures are currently implicated in only a small percentage of affected pregnancies. Nevertheless, an awareness of the principles of teratogenesis, an appreciation for the role--though imprecise--of placental transfer and fetal drug disposition, and avoidance of known teratogens currently offers our best hope for the study and prevention of birth defects.
This article was published in Med Clin North Am
and referenced in Primary Healthcare: Open Access