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PA State Health Department Urges Awareness, Prevention of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 General News J E 4
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HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 10 PennsylvaniaDepartment of Health officials today recognized Fetal Alcohol SpectrumDisorder (FASD) Awareness Week at the state Capitol and discussed efforts toprevent the disorder that can occur in children whose mothers consume alcoholduring pregnancy.

FASD is an umbrella term that describes the nation's leading category ofpreventable birth defects and developmental disabilities. The effects of FASDcan include: growth deficits; mental retardation; heart, lung and kidneydefects; specific facial characteristics; hyperactivity and behavior problems;attention and memory problems; and learning disabilities.

"FASD affects one out of every 100 births in this country -- that's morethan spina bifida, Down syndrome and muscular dystrophy combined," said JoanneGrossi, Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. "Thegood news is that FASD is preventable and the Health Department is workinghard to spread that message."

Pennsylvania is examining new ways to address FASD through preventionactivities, education, increasing public awareness, collaboration with otheragencies and community-based organizations, and coordination of services. Inaddition to focusing on preventing new occurrences of FASD, Pennsylvania willalso consider services that assist individuals with FASD disorders and theirfamilies.

The Health Department's Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Programs has convenedan FASD task force that meets each quarter to develop a statewide plan focusedon awareness, education, prevention and treatment of FASD in Pennsylvania.Task force members include parents of FASD patients, advocates, stateagencies, physicians, health and human service providers, nurses, andgovernment policy makers.

For more information on FASD, visit http://www.health.state.pa.us or call1-877-PA-HEALTH.CONTACT: Larissa Bedrick (717) 787-1783

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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