This study describes a statewide system of delivering special services to children affected by prenatal alcohol exposure and investigates the usefulness of this system as part of a statewide fetal alcohol syndrome surveillance system. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services administered seven clinics in four of the five largest cities in Alaska during 1992-1995. Among the 74 children selected to be evaluated for fetal alcohol syndrome, 70 had one or more central nervous system abnormalities. Four children were assigned the diagnosis of fetal alcohol syndrome. Recommendations made to parents of the evaluated children included parent support group follow-up (38%), referral to a psychologist (35%), and further school testing and planning (27%). Clinics for alcohol-exposed children provide health officials an opportunity to deliver appropriate services to children exposed to alcohol in utero and to their families. Further studies are necessary to improve the delivery of services to birth mothers of alcohol-exposed children who attend the clinic. State-wide fetal alcohol syndrome surveillance can be accomplished by linking these clinics with other state data sources.
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is caused by maternal alcohol use during pregnancy and is one of the leading causes of preventable birth defects and developmental disabilities in the United States. FAS is diagnosed on the basis of a combination of growth deficiency (pre- or postnatal), central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction, facial dysmorphology, and maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. Estimates of the prevalence of FAS vary from 0.2 to 1.0 per 1,000 live-born infants. This variation is due, in part, to the small size of the populations studied, varying case definitions, and different surveillance methods. In addition, differences have been noted among racial/ethnic populations. To monitor the occurrence of FAS, CDC collaborated with five states (Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, New York, and Wisconsin*) to develop the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Surveillance Network (FASSNet). This report summarizes the results of an analysis of FASSNet data on children born during 1995-1997, which indicate that FAS rates in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and New York ranged from 0.3 to 1.5 per 1,000 live-born infants and were highest for black and American Indian/Alaska Native populations. This study demonstrates that FASSNet is a useful tool that enables health care professionals to monitor the occurrence of FAS and to evaluate the impact of prevention, education, and intervention efforts.
OBJECTIVES: The prevalence and characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome cases and the usefulness of various data sources in surveillance were examined in Alaska to guide prevention and future surveillance efforts. METHODS: Sixteen data sources in Alaska were used to identify children with fetal alcohol syndrome. Medical charts were reviewed to verify cases, and records were reviewed to provide descriptive data. RESULTS: Fetal alcohol syndrome rates varied markedly by birth year and race, with the highest prevalence (4.1 per 1000 live births) found among Alaska Natives born between 1985 and 1988. Screening and referral programs to diagnostic clinics identified 70% of all recorded cases. The intervention program for children 0 to 3 years of age detected 29% of age-appropriate cases, and Medicaid data identified 11% of all cases; birth certificates detected only 9% of the age-appropriate cases. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings indicate a high prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome in Alaska and illustrate that reliance on any one data source would lead to underestimates of the extent of fetal alcohol syndrome in a population.
AIMS: To obtain the recorded prevalence of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in Norway, and evaluate the effect of a general information program to increase the recognition of FAS/FASD for health care and social workers. METHODS: A questionnaire regarding prevalence of FAS/FASD was sent to all Norwegian paediatric and child psychiatry departments. In the region Hordaland county, an information program was carried out to educate health-care and social workers on symptoms and signs of FAS/FASD, and referral was encouraged for suspected cases. Referred children received a neuropaediatric evaluation, and the effect of the information program on recorded FAS/FASD was recorded. RESULTS: Based on the national survey, a prevalence of 0.3 per 1000 was calculated. After the information program, the estimated prevalence in Hordaland County increased to 1.5 per 1000. In 5 years, 25 children were diagnosed with FAS and 22 with FASD. One-third of all children were mentally retarded. Microcephaly and neuroimpairments were more common among FAS children. Almost all children met the criteria of ADHD. CONCLUSION: The rate of FAS/FASD may be greatly underestimated because of lack of knowledge. An information program aimed at health-care and social workers is effective.
OBJECTIVE: The relation between prenatal smoking and child behavioral problems has been investigated in children of school age and older, but prospective studies in younger children are lacking. Using the population-based prospective Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study, we examined the risk for externalizing behaviors among 18-month-old children after exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy. METHOD: Participants were 22,545 mothers and their 18-month-old children. Mothers reported their smoking habits at the 17th week of gestation and their child's externalizing behavior at 18 months of age by means of standardized questionnaires. Data were analyzed using logistic regression, with scores of externalizing behavior above the 88.6th percentile as the dependent variable and self-reported smoking as the independent variable. We examined the child's sex as a possible moderator. RESULTS: We documented a threshold effect of smoking 10 cigarettes or more per day during pregnancy on subsequent externalizing behaviors among 18-month-old children, even after adjusting for relevant confounders (odds ratio 1.32, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.70). The child's sex did not moderate these effects (odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval 0.83-1.16). CONCLUSIONS: Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases offspring's subsequent risk for externalizing behavior problems at 18 months of age. The pattern of risk does not differ between boys and girls. Our findings suggest a population attributable risk of 17.5% (i.e., the proportion of externalizing cases that could potentially be avoided if prenatal smoking was eliminated or reduced to fewer than 10 cigarettes per day).
STUDY OBJECTIVES: We examined whether small body size at birth and prenatal tobacco or alcohol exposure predict poor sleep and more sleep disturbances in children. DESIGN: An epidemiologic cohort study of 289 eight-year-old children born at term. MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Sleep duration and efficiency were measured by actigraphy for 7 consecutive nights (mean = 7.1, SD = 1.2). We used both continuous measures of poor sleep and binary variables of short sleep and low sleep efficiency (