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JFAS Int 2005;3:e16 - August 2005
February 2005 Surgeon General Statement on FASD - A Second Thought

Gideon Koren MD, FACMT, FRCPC

In February 2005 the US Surgeon General released a statement that focused attention on the need to acknowledge Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as a major source of child disability. The statement reiterates key elements of prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD. In it the Surgeon General recites a commonly used statement that FASD is "completely preventable." This statement, which appears in hundreds of previous documents, stems from the logic that "if 100% of the etiology of FASD is maternal drinking, then by prevention of maternal drinking one can prevent 100% of FASD." Stating that "FASD is completely preventable" means then, that alcohol addiction and alcoholism among women of reproductive ages is 100% preventable. Or is it?

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