How is fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) diagnosed?

Making a diagnosis of FAS can be difficult because there are no particular medical tests or procedures available to make such a determination. In addition, some of the symptoms of FAS resemble those found in other disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Williams syndrome.

The main clues to the presence of FAS are:

  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between nose and upper lip.
  • Lower than average height and weight.
  • Problems affecting the central nervous system, such as small head size, difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and poor coordination.
  • Alcoholic beverage consumption by the mother during pregnancy.

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