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Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Alcohol-Related Birth Defects


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FASD is the collective term for the broad array of documented adverse effects resulting from in utero alcohol exposure. The most serious of these is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), a devastating developmental disorder characterized by craniofacial abnormalities, growth retardation, and nervous system impairments that may include mental retardation. Other diagnostic categories include partial FAS, alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD). Children and adults with FASD may exhibit multiple cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits that impair daily functioning in many domains. The NIAAA supports research leading to improved diagnosis and assessment of impairment and disability, as well as the development of tools to enhance academic and daily living skills. Areas that may be of interest to small businesses include, but are not limited to:

A. Development and assessment of diagnostic and/or screening methods that can be used prenatally to identify fetuses affected by ethanol.

B. Development and validation of biomarkers that can be used to verify prenatal alcohol exposure in neonates.

C. Development and validation of assessment methods to provide more accurate clinical diagnosis of FASD at all life stages.

D. Development and testing of skill-building, therapeutic, and education program products that enhance the social, cognitive, adaptive and motor abilities of individuals with FASD.

E. Development of neurobehavioral tools or instruments to assess responsiveness of individuals with FASD to medications and/or cognitive/behavioral therapies.

F. Development of accurate measures of the responsiveness of children affected by prenatal exposure to alcohol to stress and predictors of vulnerability to alcohol-drinking or other psychopathology during adolescence and adulthood.

G. Development and evaluation of educational and training programs designed to enhance the skills of non-professional caregivers in dealing with the problems associated with FAS.

H. Development and validation of innovative approaches to prevent harmful drinking during pregnancy.

For basic research questions, contact:

Dale Hereld, MD, Ph.D.



William C. Dunty, Ph.D.



For prevention research questions, contact:

Marcia Scott, Ph.D.



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