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Review Article Open Access
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy in human may cause Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) in the worst cases or Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE) in the lightest cases. FAS inevitably induce growth retardation, craniofacial as well as congenital malformations and irreversible cognitive and behavioural deficits in the children whereas FAE lack malformations but are still accompanied by lifelong cognitive deficits. Although scientific knowledge about the effects of ethanol during early brain growth period had considerably increased over the last decades, the problem of the consequences, the cost and the care of infants exposed to alcohol during pregnancy remains spread worldwide. In many industrialized countries including France the country of the first description of FAS in 1968, the sanitary problem is clearly not a public health priority and thus still not yet resolved. Indeed, research in France on this public health problem remains inadequately organized and funded. Nevertheless, some efforts have been recently done by some scientists, clinicians and others and we believe that beside primary prevention towards the lay persons, the most consensual and less ambiguous health message should remain “No Alcohol during pregnancy”. In this review, after a short history of FAS/FASD, we compiled data concerning incidence, social cost, national health policy and organization of research in FAS/ FASD field. We deliberately emphasize the situation in France as our working team is based in this country and we choose to document this review with available data from some official internet sites.
Ethanol, Prenatal, SAF, FASD, Ethanol, Prenatal, SAF, FASD