Blinking sign of fetal alcohol syndrome?

Filed under: Babies, Your Pregnancy, In The News

Not all babies exposed to alcohol in the womb are born with the abnormal facial features typically found in children with fetal alcohol syndrome. However, researchers believe they may have found a way to diagnosis the syndrome in infants as young as five months old, which would allow intervention programs to be started when they would have the most profound effect on the brain.

The results of the study found that children with varying degrees of fetal alcohol syndrome had an inability to blink their eyes as quickly as their peers when a small blast of air was shot into their faces, pinpointing those with the syndrome.

Researchers tested children by making a noise and following it with a puff of air. The children had 350 milliseconds to blink to avoid the puff, Jacobson said. None of the children with fetal alcohol syndrome learned to blink in time, even after repeated trials. Only about a third of children exposed to heavy alcohol use learned to blink to block the air. In contrast, 75 percent of children in a control group learned to respond in time.

Of course, preventing alcohol abuse in pregnant woman is the easiest way of curbing fetal alcohol syndrome. When for whatever reason that doesn't happen, it's good that research is being done to help the innocent children stuck with a lifetime of dealing with the after effects.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.