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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17463

Title: Examining Different Levels of Prevention of Birth Defects and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Authors: Goh, Y. Ingrid
Advisor: Koren, Gideon
Department: Pharmaceutical Sciences
Keywords: prevention
fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
birth defects
fatty acid ethyl esters
Issue Date: 16-Jul-2009
Abstract: While all women hope to deliver a healthy baby, approximately 3-5% babies are affected by birth defects. Birth defects can occur naturally or be induced by teratogens. Alcohol is a known teratogen that causes fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD), the most commonly known cause of neurobehavioural and neurodevelopmental deficits. Individuals affected with FASD are likely to be involved with or require additional assistance from healthcare, education, social services, and justice sectors. Due to this immense burden, effective prevention of FASD can have a major public impact. Prevention of FASD can occur at different levels: primary prevention (preventing alcohol-induced birth defects from occurring in the first place); secondary prevention (preventing alcohol-induced birth defects from developing or progressing); tertiary prevention (improving the outcome of individuals affected with FASD); and quaternary prevention (preventing another child from being affected with FASD). The objective of this thesis was to explore a multilevel birth defect and FASD prevention strategy. Primary prevention by was investigated by maternal multivitamin supplementation to optimize fetal growing conditions, as alcoholics are commonly deficient in nutrients. A meta-analysis of maternal multivitamin supplementation demonstrated a decreased risk for certain congenital anomalies and pediatric cancers. Secondary prevention was investigated by a randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled evaluating the ability of high doses of antioxidants (vitamin C and vitamin E) to mitigate the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. The study was ceased due to safety concerns regarding high doses of vitamin C and vitamin E in preeclamptic studies. Tertiary prevention was investigated by anonymous meconium screening of babies of Grey-Bruce, Ontario residents delivering at or transferred to St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ontario. A 30% prevalence of fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) positive meconium was observed at this high-risk unit. Meconium screening is also a means of quaternary prevention since positive screens also identify mothers who were unable to stop consuming alcohol after 13 weeks of pregnancy, and therefore are at risk of delivering another child who is prenatally exposed to alcohol. The identification and engagement of these mothers into treatment programs constitutes primary prevention of FASD in subsequent pregnancies.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17463
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy - Doctoral theses

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