Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among children in a Brazilian orphanage.


BACKGROUND The objective was to investigate the frequency of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) and ophthalmologic anomalies in orphanage children in Brazil. METHODS A prospective study was performed on 94 children living in an orphanage in Brazil. The children were examined by a multidisciplinary team consisting of specialists in pediatrics, neurology, psychology, neuropsychiatry, and ophthalmology. RESULTS The main reasons for living in the orphanage, in 61% of the children, were negligence, child abuse, and abandonment. Of all the children studied, 50% had mothers with known alcohol abuse and 47% had one or more diagnoses of neurodevelopmental/behavioral and/or cognitive deficits. General developmental delay was found in 18%, intellectual disability in 3%, cognitive impairment in 27%, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in 14%, and autism in 3%. Altogether 17% had FASD, comprising three children with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), six with partial FAS, and seven with alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. 16% had ophthalmological findings such as poor vision, strabismus, and dysmorphology of the optic nerves. Twenty-eight children (30%) were adopted from the orphanage; of these, six had FASD (two FAS, three partial FAS, one alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder), five had attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and eight had developmental delay. CONCLUSION Nearly half of the children living in the orphanage had neurodevelopmental disorders and a considerable number showed signs of damage from prenatal alcohol exposure. A broader look at the problem of FASD in Brazil and other South American countries is desirable to document the burden of disease and provide data for targeting prevention efforts.

DOI: 10.1002/bdra.23326

Cite this paper

@article{Strmland2015FetalAS, title={Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders among children in a Brazilian orphanage.}, author={Kerstin K Str{\"{o}mland and Liana Maria Vieira de Oliveira Ventura and Layla Mirzaei and Keyla Fontes de Oliveira and Jos{\'e} Marcelino Bandim and Adriana Parente Ivo and Carlos Teixeira Brandt}, journal={Birth defects research. Part A, Clinical and molecular teratology}, year={2015}, volume={103 3}, pages={178-85} }