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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17788

Title: Fatty Acid Ethyl Esters (FAEE), A Biomarker of Alcohol Exposure: Hope for a Silent Epidemic of Fetal Alcohol Affected Children
Authors: Kulaga, Vivian
Advisor: Gideon, Koren
Department: Medical Science
Keywords: Alcohol
Issue Date: 24-Sep-2009
Abstract: One percent of children in North America may be affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). FASD remains difficult to diagnose because confirmation of maternal alcohol use is a diagnostic criterion, and women consuming alcohol during pregnancy are reluctant to divulge this information for fear of stigmatization and losing custody of the child. Consequently, using a biomarker to assess alcohol exposure would provide a tremendous advantage. Recently, the measurement of fatty acid ethyl ester (FAEE) in hair has provided a powerful tool for assessing alcohol exposure. My thesis fills a translational gap of research between the development of the FAEE hair test and its application in the context of FASD. The guinea pig has been a critical model for FASD research, in which FAEE hair analysis has previously distinguished ethanol-exposed dams/offspring from controls. My first study, reports a positive dose-concentration relationship between alcohol exposure and hair FAEE, in the human, and the guinea pig. Humans also displayed over an order of magnitude higher FAEE incorporation per equivalent alcohol exporsure, suggesting that the test will be a sensitive clinical marker of fetal alcohol exposure. My second study utilized multi-coloured rats to investigate the potential of a hair-colour bias, as has been reported for other clinical hair assays; no evidence of bias is reported here. My third study is the first to examine the clinical use of the FAEE hair test in parents at high risk of having children with FASD. Over one third of parents tested positive for excessive alcohol use. Parents were investigated by social workers working for child protection services, and my fourth study reports that hair FAEE results agree with social worker reports. Individuals highly suspected of abusing alcohol were at a significantly greater risk of testing positive, whereas individuals tested based on other reasons (such as to cover all bases) were negatively associated with testing positive. The last study of my thesis, confirmed an association between alcohol and drug use by parents at high risk for having children with FASD, posing an added risk to children. This work helps bridge a gap in translational research, suggesting that the FAEE hair test has potential for use in FASD diagnosis and research.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17788
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Institute of Medical Science - Doctoral theses

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