Researchers at the University of California have discovered an increase in the number of children with fetal alcohol syndrome in the US. They examined about 6,000 children from four regions: the Pacific Southwest, the Midwest, Rocky Mountain and the Southeast. The analyzes revealed a FAS rate between 1% and 5%.
To determine the precise number of cases, scientists used a comprehensive approach. The study lasted two years, during which the researchers interviewed both mothers and relatives. This allowed them to more precisely diagnose this syndrome with very complex traits. The large amount of different symptoms has in fact always made it difficult to obtain precise information on the FAS.
The previous data reported about 10 children per 1,000 affected by the syndrome. The study found instead that the frequency of fetal alcohol syndrome is between 11 and 50 children every 1,000. The lowest numbers were found in the Midwest, while the highest numbers in the Rocky Mountain area. According to the study, FAS numbers would be comparable to those of autism spectrum disorders.
Researchers diagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome in 222 children. Of these, only 2 had already received the diagnosis. Parents and teachers were aware that there was a problem, but they had not connected it to the FAS. This makes one think of how many cases of undiagnosed syndrome there are in circulation.