Category: genetic association

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Does Your Child Suffer From Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) is a term used to describe a range of conditions that occur to a person whose mother consumed alcohol during pregnancy. People that suffer from this may have physical problems or suffer from impaired vision and hearing. Also, they tend to have difficulty in learning and communicating.

In a nutshell, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. There are various types of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum disorders, yet, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is considered the most severe.

Causes of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

When a baby is a womb, it is still developing its organs, regardless of the trimester. That includes organs such as the brain and the liver. That said, when the mother consumes the alcohol, it passes through the placenta to the baby.

Due to the baby’s undeveloped liver, the alcohol is not well processed by the baby. Hence, the ability to cause physical damage to the baby’s organs. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is also known to cause miscarriage.

The alcohol inhibits the proper circulation of oxygen and nutrition that the baby requires.

Symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

As previously mentioned, the effects are usually physical and mental problems. However, they also include social and behavioral problems. That said, the severity of the symptom varies. Let us take a look at some of them.

Physical Symptoms

There a few distinctive features that tend to stand out, and one needs to look out for. They include:

  • Small eye openings
  • Thin upper lip
  • The head is smaller than usual head
  • They are shorter than normal in terms of height
  • The ridge between the nose and upper lip (The Philtrum) is smooth
  • Vision and hearing impairment
  • Heart defects and problems
  • Kidney problems
  • Slow physical growth
  • Abnormal bone growth

Social And Behavioral Problems

  • Poor time management
  • Problems making new friends or maintaining friendships
  • Poor task management
  • Difficulty setting goals and keeping them

Mental Problems

  • Brain size is smaller than usual
  • Growth of brain is slow
  • Very hyperactive
  • Problems maintaining attention
  • Difficulty in learning, especially with Math
  • Problems in speech, as well as learning any language
  • Problems with coordination
  • Mood swings
  • Trouble remembering anything (Memory problems)

Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

You should not drink at all when pregnant. It is advisable that you steer clear of any form of an alcoholic beverage if you are pregnant, or working towards pregnancy. Most women often realize that they are pregnant three months later.

Staying completely away from alcohol is the best prevention of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. This includes all types of wines and other alcoholic beverages.

The Molecular Ecologist: Scanning the genome for local adaptation

The Molecular Ecologist: Scanning the genome for local adaptation

The collection locations for plant lines sampled in my analysis. Figure 1 from Yoder et al. (2014).

This week at The Molecular Ecologist, I’ve just posted a new discussion of the latest publication to come out of my postdoctoral research with the Medicago HapMap Project. It’s an attempt to find genome regions that might be important for adaptation to climate, by scanning through a whole lot of genetic data from plants collected in different climates.

This is what’s known as a “reverse ecology” approach—it skips over the process of identifying specific traits that are important for surviving changing climates, and instead uses population genetic patterns to infer what’s going on. One approach for such a scan is presented in my latest paper, which is in this month’s issue of Genetics. Essentially I think of this as what you can do, given a lot of genetic data for a geographically distributed sample—in this case for barrel medick, or Medicago truncatula. Medicago truncatula is a model legume species, which has been used in a great deal of laboratory and greenhouse experimentation—but in this project, I tried to treat M. truncatula as a “field model” organism.

For a run-down of what I did, and what I found, go read the whole post—or check out the paper itself [PDF].◼
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