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Monday, April 8, 2013

Understanding variability in ethanol teratogenicity

Ethanol is the most widely used psychoactive drug and, when used inappropriately, can have deleterious effects. The developing fetus is particularly sensitive to the deleterious effects of ethanol. Fetal alcohol exposure causes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), which have an estimated prevalence reaching 1% in North America (1). FASD are associated with defects to numerous organs, including the central nervous system (2). Defects to the central nervous system are especially diffuse and can include disruptions to the corpus callosum (3, 4). This variability is problematic for identifying and providing treatments for FASD, making a more complete understanding of FASD variation essential.

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