The Standardization of Diagnostic Criteria for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD): Implications for Research, Clinical Practice and Population Health – 2018

Objective: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a preventable disorder caused by maternal alcohol consumption and marked by a range of physical and mental disabilities. Although recognized by the scientific and medical community as a clinical disorder, no internationally standardized diagnostic tool yet exists for FASD. Methods and Results: This review seeks to analyse the discrepancies in existing diagnostic tools for FASD, and the repercussions these differences have on research, public health, and government policy. Conclusions: Disagreement on the adoption of a standardised tool is reflective of existing gaps in research on the conditions and factors that influence fetal vulnerability to damage from exposure. This discordance has led to variability in research findings, inconsistencies in government messaging, and misdiagnoses or missed diagnoses. The objective measurement of the timing and level of prenatal alcohol exposure is key to bridging these gaps; however, there is conflicting or limited evidence to support the use of existing measures. Jasmine M. Brown, BEd, MPP, Roger Bland, CM, MB, ChB, FRCPC, FRCPsych, Egon Jonsson, PhD, Andrew J. Greenshaw, PhD, FRSA The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, May 22, 2018