Epigenetics studies of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder: where are we now?

The FASD Prevention Conversation Project

The study of epigenetic mechanisms is fast on its way to becoming an important method for understanding and potentially diagnosing fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

“Epigenetics studies of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder,” a recent review published in Future Medicine by a team of Kids Brain Health Network researchers found that several epigenetic mechanisms are affected by alcohol, which could explain many of the neurobiological deficits and abnormalities associated with prenatal alcohol exposure.

“This area of research holds more promise than ever,” says Dr. Joanne Weinberg, co-author of the review.

Fetal alcohol syndrome was coined nearly 40 years ago, and is the most severe end of the FASD spectrum, characterized by distinctive facial features and extreme cognitive delays. However, the spectrum is quite broad and depends on many factors including the level of alcohol exposure and genetic background. At the milder end of the spectrum, symptoms can be as inconspicuous as…

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