Approaching the Prevalence of the Full Spectrum of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in a South African Population-Based Study
Article first published online: 14 DEC 2012
Copyright © 2012 by the Research Society on Alcoholism
Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 37, Issue 5, pages 818–830, May 2013
How to Cite
May, P. A., Blankenship, J., Marais, A.-S., Gossage, J. P., Kalberg, W. O., Barnard, R., De Vries, M., Robinson, L. K., Adnams, C. M., Buckley, D., Manning, M., Jones, K. L., Parry, C., Hoyme, H. E. and Seedat, S. (2013), Approaching the Prevalence of the Full Spectrum of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in a South African Population-Based Study. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37: 818–830. doi: 10.1111/acer.12033
- Issue published online: 24 APR 2013
- Article first published online: 14 DEC 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 14 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 7 MAR 2012
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse, and Alcoholism. Grant Numbers: RO1 AA09440, R01 AA11685, RO1/UO1 AA01115134
- National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities
- Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders;
- South Africa;
- Alcohol Abuse;
- Maternal Drinking
The prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) were determined in this fourth study of first-grade children in a South African community.
Active case ascertainment methods were employed among 747 first-grade pupils. The detailed characteristics of children within the continuum of FASD are contrasted with randomly selected, normal controls on (i) physical growth and dysmorphology; (ii) cognitive/behavioral characteristics; and (iii) maternal risk factors.
The rates of specific diagnoses within the FASD spectrum continue to be among the highest reported in any community in the world. The prevalence (per 1,000) is as follows: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)—59.3 to 91.0; partial fetal alcohol syndrome (PFAS)—45.3 to 69.6; and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND)—30.5 to 46.8. The overall rate of FASD is therefore 135.1 to 207.5 per 1,000 (or 13.6 to 20.9%). Clinical profiles of the physical and cognitive/behavioral traits of children with a specific FASD diagnosis and controls are provided for understanding the full spectrum of FASD in a community. The spectral effect is evident in the characteristics of the diagnostic groups and summarized by the total (mean) dysmorphology scores of the children: FAS = 18.9; PFAS = 14.3; ARND = 12.2; and normal controls, alcohol exposed = 8.2 and unexposed = 7.1. Documented drinking during pregnancy is significantly correlated with verbal (r = −0.253) and nonverbal ability (r = −0.265), negative behaviors (r = 0.203), and total dysmorphology score (r = 0.431). Other measures of drinking during pregnancy are significantly associated with FASD, including binge drinking as low as 3 drinks per episode on 2 days of the week.
High rates of specific diagnoses within FASD were well documented in this new cohort of children. FASD persists in this community. The data reflect an increased ability to provide accurate and discriminating diagnoses throughout the continuum of FASD.