17 February 2012

Awesome Pregnancy Detection Guide - Graphic

Well guys, if you are wondering why the wife is bitchy lately, she could be pregnant and not know it. But of course, with all of the symptoms, as you shall see, I'm pretty sure the lady would find herself in a doctors office or at least at a pharmacy buying a pregnancy tester. Here, see what she is going through and be very careful what you say to her (just kidding):


                 Eye and Ear

             Nose and Mouth




                     Arm and Hand


                          Legs and Feet




I'm pretty sure that very few women have every single problem as shown above but to have even half of them makes women good sports. Now if she could avoid alcohol, any drug, cigarette smoke, or anything even close to poison whether inhaled or injested, you will (sometimes just she will) enjoy a happy baby. You know, like the babies that never seem to cry or make a fuss - a really good-natured baby.

Compliments of "my health reference"
Answers to your health questions

16 February 2012

FAS Secondary Characteristics – Honesty is Crucial

If the drinking mother knew what FASD was, she should readily admit it during pregnancy and at birth and minimize secondary characteristics through education and the extra care and attention the child will forever need. However, not all moms will admit honestly the extent to which they had drank or drugged because they don’t want to sound “awful” and face a stigma. That said, she is not helping the baby/child at all. An honest mother can make a huge difference in the child’s development and future success.

But whether it’s just ignorance (‘cause some people just don’t watch the news, read newspapers or generally engage themselves with media) or dishonesty, the earliest start time for special attention is immediate.

I know a woman who’s whole life consists of Maury Povich, court programs, and believe it or not, cartoons. After school her granddaughter watches TV, taking over from grandma. I lived in this woman’s house as a roomer and couldn’t help but to shake my head at a grandma who remains so blind. Oh, did I mention she’s a wino?

And so the situation lived itself out. Grandma’s daughters’ child was taken from the real mom by the government and grandma took over care of the child. The girl is 10 now. As far as I know, the girl’s mom does not drink because A-- (the 10-year old) seems very normal to me and shows absolutely no secondary characteristics. Yet. I say “yet” because every child with any of the FASD disorders can and usually are different in some way and A-- is still growing. FASD deficits may still be indiscernable.

I realize my blog specializes in "prevention," the "aftercare" blog here only shows a picture of what the future may be.

So, here is what a dishonest or ignorant (not knowing) mother (and her husband) should have been (should be) examining as the child grew/grows up after it's born:

A: Personal care:

1. Toileting

Four items including “Recognizes/ indicates need to go to toilet” and “Flushes toilet after use.”

2. Personal hygiene:

Five items including “Washes hands and face” and “Takes care of personal hygiene – body odor, nails, combing hair, (women) menstruation, (men) shaving.”

3. Eating

Five items including “Uses table utensils” and “Has general table manners – says “please” and “thank you”, uses Napkin, doesn’t talk with mouth full.”

4. Dressing

Five items including “Dresses and undresses at appropriate time” and “Does fasteners – buttons, zippers, snaps.”

B: Daily living skills:

1. Room management

Five items including “Keeps room tidy and/or accepts sharing of responsibility of room cleaning” and “Takes care of personal belongings.”

2. Kitchen skills

Five items including “Sets table – dishes, glasses, cutlery, clears after meal” and “ Puts away groceries, linens, dishes in appropriate place.”

3. Domestic skills

Five items including “Does minor household tasks – dusting, sweeping, tidying” and “Takes an interest in how house looks – pictures, plants, furniture arrangement.”

4: Telephoning

Five items including “Understands the function of a telephone” and “Takes telephone messages.”

5. Time

Five items including “Understands the purpose of a clock” and “Tells time.”

6. Health concerns

Five items including “Knows when he/she is ill and can indicate illness to others” and “ Makes doctors and dental appointments.”

C: Community access:

1. Transportation

Five items including “Is familiar with the neighbourhood and the services available” and “Behaves appropriately when using public transportation.”

2. Money

Five items including “Understands function of money” and “ Uses banking facilities.”

3. Shopping

Five items including “Goes on errands” and “ Can get assistance from store clerk.”

4. Leisure/ recreation

Five items including “Takes part in planned/ supervised leisure” and “ Satisfied with his own use of leisure time.”

5. Pre-vocational

Five items including “Follows instructions” and “Makes decisions or choices.”

D: Social skills:

1. Communication

Five items including “Knows what to do if lost – name, address, phone number” and “Asks for assistance or information when needs it.”

2. Awareness of others

Five items including “Smiles and greets people he/she recognizes” and “ Is not overly friendly with strangers.”

3. Interpersonal skills

Five items including “Makes friends” and “Shares with others but sets limits.”

4. Problem solving

Five items including “Knows what happens when he/she does well or when rules are broken” and “ Can work through a decision when given two choices.”

E: Maladaptive behaviours:

1. Antisocial behavior

Five items including “Lies or cheats” and “Takes others’ property without permission.”

2. Rebellious behavior

Five items including “Ignores regulations or regular routines” and “ Misbehaves in group settings.”

3. Stereotyped behavior and odd mannerisms

Five items including “Has stereotyped behaviors – rocks, twirls objects, paces” and “ Tears off clothing.”

4. Psychological disturbances

Five items including “Has hypochondriachal tendencies” and “ Demands excessive attention.”

5. Violent and destructive

Five items including “Threatens or does physical violence to others” and “ Has violent temper or temper tantrums.”

6. Inappropriate sexual behavior

Five items including “Engages in masturbation or sexual intercourse in inappropriate places or times” and “ Has tendency to direct sexual activity towards inappropriate others – unwilling partners, children.”

7. Self-abusive behavior

Six items including “Bites self” and “Bangs head or other part of body against objects.”

F: Health and physical care demands:

Five items including “Epilepsy” and “Diet”

14 February 2012

Today - Ads I've Created for Various Reasons

My Graphics/Ads:

Aha...so the fetus can be speak - are you listening? Are you?

13 February 2012

Addictions, Fetuses, Consequences, And New Help

Currently, we do not have conclusive evidence regarding the likelihood that people who have FASD will have problematic substance use issues. However, the literature does  suggest that a disproportionate number of people with FASD will have substance use problems (Streissguth, Barr, Kogan, & Bookstein 1996).

There is also a high likelihood that women with FASD, like all women, will be sexually active, and at some point may become pregnant. Given the possible reality of substance use for women with FASD, in conjunction with likely sexual activity, there is a strong risk that women with FASD may use alcohol or drugs while pregnant.

Thus, from the perspective of FASD prevention, women with FASD need to be viewed as a group warranting particular attention. As well as being at high risk of having problem substance use, practice wisdom tells us that  women with FASD who have substance use problems do not do well in traditional substance use treatment programs (AA, NA, etc.): they are “very challenging” to work with and have “poorer outcomes.” (Solution bottom #2)

I agree with the last statement the most. It’s because programming for all substance abuse sends women and men to Alcoholics Anonymous. The government, health agencies and help groups and every client, would benefit from reading this:

AA is scary.

Clients are obligated to do all ten steps in “The Big Book,” follow the advice of numerous slogans and learn the AA jargon. If the client admits he or she does not believe in God it become a problem because belief in God is essential. It’s injected into 5 of the 12-steps of the book that will become your new bible. Someone will tell you a candle will do for your higher power, or whatever – maybe the North Star. And members do that.

When the group sees a problem in a client they band up on him or her (in the zestiest way pro-AA people can) to save you. The group or an individual will get you into contact with a sponsor (your other brain - to think for YOU).

It’s part of the program you see and if you don’t follow the “AA way you are in “denial” and doomed to “relapse,” both symptoms of the disease you now have. Keep up your skeptical attitude and you are in trouble. People have been asked to leave groups if they don’t conform. And if a whole meeting group strays from the AA framework, that whole meeting place could be removed by headquarters from all lists of meetings anywhere.

What the client may begin to realize is that he or she is participating in a program that’s not working.Well, it’s no surprise. Group members everywhere are completely unaware that 95% will not make it through the 1st year, including those who attend AA (right from AA Headquarters in New York). Therefore they don’t speak about that scary truth. Who can quit with these statistics, if they were known? A newcomer, while putting in the honest effort, will see faces dissapearing one by one, being replaced by new faces. Yet in the Big Book, Bill solemnly declares, "Rarely have we seen a person fail." That is an outright lie. How can the logical brain accept this?

To keep you there, AA uses the disease concept whereby the client is “SICK” and has a life-long illness that is progressive, incurable and will keep getting worse until you die – even if you keep attending meetings – which you have to because it is the only program that works. (Hmmm, that’s not true.) Symptoms of this sicknes, as above, are “relapse” and “denial.” 

Flipping the coin over from the Disease Model to the Structural Model of, the statistic reveals that people who used any drug, or alcohol, that quit on their own, is also 5% of the drugging population. Interesting. That is the same number of people who get through a year of AA without “slipping.” So I surmise that the people who are successful with AA for at least a year, would have quit on their own anyway.

People do quit on their own. We’ve heard of it and can all probably remember a self-quitter somewhere in our life (tobacco, drugs, gambling, etc.).


Looking at the health system in Canada, the very people who send clients to AA don’t realize what they are doing. Few know that 5% statistic. You see, they have no right to say it works until they themselves become addicted and attend meetings for the year. Oh, they’ll say they are very happy about attending AA. I know – I was there and for me talking about beer drinking and laughing or crying about it became a mental torture for some (you should see the stress and discomfort on some), but still had me telling people that AA saved me. I lied to people about that, while I knew I was doomed to fail. I'm sure I'm not the first one.

This is one reason why pregnant women cannot be sent to AA by any court order or to be coherced by any councelor to attend. Especially women with FASD or ARND. It is better to go with Rational Recovery. If you have never heard of this, you will down in blue.

First, self-quitting, a new-age concept, forces one to be more realistic and conclude that it is actually easier to quit with nobody’s help than it is to quit with the help of too many doctors, if you know what I mean. There will be no denial. No relapse. No ambivalence (should I or shouldn’t I). No sponsor (second brain), no drinks after meetings, no imaginary God or disease, etc. Sounds so scary but the fear will dissipate on a personal journey with two great tools. Most anyone can do this. How? Just read these two books:

Get the book from Jack Trimpey: “Rational Recovery – The New Cure for Substance Addiction”: ISBN-13: 978-0-671-52858-4 You can quit with this. This is called the “structural model of addiction” (as opposed to the disease model of AA) and shows why you had problems quitting before and why you can quit this time. "There's nothing wrong with you."

Also, get the book teaching you “rational emotive behavioural therapy” (REBT) by Albert E. Ellis Ph.D.(Rest his soul), “Anger – How To Live With And Without It because quitting can evoke primary emotions that usually turn into the seconday emotion of “anger” if the primary emotions are not resolved. For example: Frustration unresolved guarentees that anger is coming but you won't necessarily feel the transition. You will, with no doubt, have this problem, maybe even many times daily with different events. Remember that thoughts evoke emotions about events and generate all feelings, some negative, like self-downing, frustration, blaming, depression, etc, are all hard to deal with. Dr. Ellis had made these manageable or, for some, perfectly fixable if you really practice his ABC’s. ISBN 0-8065-2426-X

So if you take it upon yourself to heed the advice of both of these books. 2 books – no meetings. Requires only personal responsibility. Not God’s Hand. Keep in mind, you still have to have a desire to quit. Rational Recovery can do this with you and you’ll have finished your self-training in a matter of weeks or less and feel good about quitting. You will find out about the abstinence commitment effect.

If you have a concept problem in either book, I can help but first try hard to get it yourself. Email me at: fafasd@gmx.com. I have been trained in both AVRT and REBT, as above.

I’m not sorry if I seem harsh but addictions are serious business and tough works in the business of quitting. Be one of the 5% who quits alone. People do it every day somewhere. Use God for other good purposes. I’ll be honest. I quit for 6 years before I had MY first alcohol slip. I definitely thank Rational Recovery (RR). AA was killing me. AVRT says, "Be who you are. Solve your problems keeping them separate from your abstinence goal." They are separate; unrelated. If you wish to be the ass in the family, don't blame the booze or drugs or people. Sober people deal with all kinds of bad family issues and they don't go running to the bottle and become alcoholics.

Informed consent: I'm speaking to adults to keep 2 choices in mind. I am not telling you what to do. If you really want AA, that is your perogative. Or try the new cure (that I have personally endorsed). Keep in mind the choice you now have and, in case you didn’t know, you do have the legal right in Canada to choose your own recovery method as long as it is legit. AVRT is legitimate. In the USA, (California+), AVRT groups are popping up everywhere. What shouldn't be popping up everywhere are more drunks.

10 February 2012

See my FASD Slideshow with Genesis "Mama"

This (my) slideshow is 10.5 minutes but it is interesting. My first crack at a YouTube experience. No sound but the pictures say it all. You may need to cut and paste it on YouTube. Actually I put a link here that is wrong. I don't understand. However, go to YouTube and type in "FASD Slideshow" and it should be the second one down with a purple picture. Thanks for the trouble and for viewing.

9 February 2012

Ann Streissguth

Heads up government of Canada. If you have never heard of Ann Streissguth, than here is your chance. She alone has put FASD on the map of study and she's doing it with the style of a true professor. Yes, she works with a think tank of very talented people of whom has teamed up with her in an attempt to really unravel the FASD mystery by studying the inside of the brain. See these links in my blog of brain centers of study that Ann and her colleagues are mapping and using to link to fas brain damage to behaviours of FAS children and adults:

The Frontal Lobes link: My post 1, 11/5/11 - http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6911367971276676027#editor/target=post;postID=3725231037762924231

The Corpus Callosum link: My post 2, 11/6/11 - http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6911367971276676027#editor/target=post;postID=1731960452153601887

The Hypothalamus link: My post 3, 11/8/11 - http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6911367971276676027#editor/target=post;postID=4685566639168981532

The Cerebellum link: My post 4, 11/11/11 - http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6911367971276676027#editor/target=post;postID=396016132958844854

The Hippocampus link: My Post 5, 11/17/11 - http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6911367971276676027#editor/target=post;postID=2607662002224961580


Now I'm going to put her up with a link right here of a blog from a few days ago: Meet this genius: If you fail to look you are also denying FASD, ARND, FAE and ARBD, children of the right to a normal life. This has been going on for far too long: Laws are in demand: This is not a Women's Rights Issue - that's my argument here: It's a humanitarian issue: Previous blog - meet Ann Streissguth right here:


Here is Ann's Letter to me:

Dear Kevin, (adoptive name)

I am dazzled to find your email on my screen, while I'm seated here in Seattle at SEA-TAC airport on the first leg of a long journey. Thank you for writing me, and most importantly, thank you for writing to your legislators in Canada. It is more important than ever to continue getting the message out to our governing agencies, to protect the next generation of children from fetal alcohol damage. You are doing heroic work!! I thank you for it and look forward to hearing from you again some time.

All best wishes,
Ann Streissguth

Ann P. Streissguth, Ph.D., Professor Emerita,
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit,
University of Washington School of Medicine, Box #359112,
Seattle, Washington 98195-9112

Thank you Government of Canada for looking.

5 February 2012

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius – Ambivalence in Sweden

Pregnant in Sweden - I'll drink to that
| 07/11/2007 | Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius

Posted on July-11-07 09:25:16 by WesternCulture

While recently awaiting the arrival of a new baby, Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius found herself not so much restricted by her bulging belly as by the opinions of those around her - especially when it came to alcohol consumption.

Cultural taboos vary from country to country, yet you’d think that medical advice would be internationally uniform. But it’s far from uniform, and nowhere near in agreement especially when you mix pregnancy, breastfeeding and alcohol. While all experts have access to the same research and studies, different countries interpret and advise based on culture and political whim.

Zero tolerance for alcohol has been the general norm here in Sweden for quite a while. Americans take it to its most extreme with no-go zones condemning not only alcohol and smoking but all forms of caffeine. Coffee, cola and even chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be. Until recently moderate alcohol consumption was okay for pregnant and breast feeding mothers in the UK.

However, the new advisory of zero tolerance for mothers has recently stirred up controversy in Britain. I sympathize with the mums like Zoe Williams who wrote a great piece in the Guardian. I agree strongly with her that much of the popular advice to pregnant women is unnecessarily restrictive.

The strict alcohol consumption guidelines set up by Swedish, UK or US health care authorities, agencies and associations all share the aura of scientific and medical credibility. However, a study in 2006 by the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology concluded that there was no convincing evidence of adverse effects of prenatal alcohol exposure at low to moderate levels, where moderate was defined as 10.5 units per week (not at one sitting). (Fetuswinning here: 10.5 units a week = 1.5 units a day. A unit is 1 beer. Sticking with beer, so, would you say, drinking gals, that you would drink the equivalent of 1.5 beers every day until your child is born? Doesn't that sound at all dangerous?)

Messages to eliminate all alcohol are purely motivated by the true danger of a fetus’ exposure to high levels of alcohol which results in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

In my first pregnancy I thought I’d be upfront and honest. I had every intention of abstaining from alcohol, however I would sporadically partake of the grape should the occasion call for it. Instead of the midwife applauding me for my prudent response from a responsible mother-to-be, she started rambling off medical studies linking alcohol to pretty much anything that sounded even remotely scary.

That’s when I decided to play it safe from there on in and answer when asked how much I drink: “I abstain totally from any alcohol intake under any and all circumstances while pregnant and breastfeeding.” (fetuswinning here: it is important to know here that studies are always evaluated by the given numbers even though it is true that not all women tell the truth (above) about consumption. There is a tendency to under-report volume of alcohol consumption. Some don't want to look bad, even on a piece of paper in a survey.)

In 2005, the Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona, urged “Women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant to abstain from alcohol.” If you take that literally, you are talking about every woman of child-bearing age. (fetuswinning here: True, but if you are celibate, don't worry. It's just that with sexually active women, it would be a good idea practice "a pregnancy strip detail,  as in army detail. Must be done.)

In Sweden they add guilt to the fear using the zero tolerance argument, “You wouldn’t drive a car after drinking a glass of wine because your judgment is impaired; think of the bad judgments you could make to put your unborn child at risk.” It makes me wonder how anyone allows me to make any decisions on my own at all.

How do you decide how much is too much and how little is harmless? I don’t have the answer, but a pregnant friend living in French-speaking Switzerland told me that the literature she read in French advised women to not have more than one glass of wine per day. Perhaps that’s too liberal for the zero-tolerance brigade, but something to keep in mind when "weighing" “medical advice”. (fetuswinning here: "weighing"? That's ambivalence - make a decision - tip the scale. Tip it towards the evidence of danger.)

Elizabeth Dacey-Fondelius
(fetuswinning here: Thanks Elizabeth.)

Some of E's Resonses

To: WesternCulture

I don't know why someone in Sweden would complain about this kind of attitude.

A person who enjoys the benefits of a government-run health care system has no reason to complain when they find themselves under constant pressure, criticism, etc. about the decisions they make that affect the health of themselves and others.

To: CanaGuy

If your living in Canda your living under socialism as well.

To: WesternCulture

I asked my OB/GYN what he recommends, just out of curiosity, and he said he tells his patients they can have a couple glasses of wine a week.

To: pacelvi

Coffee, cola and even chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be.

I tell you what . . . if I can't have Diet Coke, that baby ain't happenin'.

I cannot function without Diet Coke, and I am not ashamed to admit it. (fetuswinning here: Rigorous honesty - that's what we need.)

To: Xenalyte

Heh, I’m not even pregnant yet and I’ve been trying to cut the caffeine way back... it’s really hard. Diet Coke makes the world start.

On the other hand, if you can’t give up alcohol for nine months when you know you’re pregnant it seems to me like there’s an alcohol issue.

To: WesternCulture

Zero tolerance for alcohol has been the general norm here in Sweden for quite a while. Americans take it to its most extreme with no-go zones condemning not only alcohol and smoking but all forms of caffeine. Coffee, cola and even chocolate are off limits to the mother-to-be.”

1 February 2012

Ann Striessguth Encourages Me and My FASD Goals

Ann Streissguth - for FASD - and
Her Hommage To Me For My Canadian Goal;

Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

First, a bit about Ann's Expertise and Journey - Who is this woman?:

Ann Streissguth - Ann Streissguth is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine. She has 25 years of experience working with individuals with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and fetal alcohol effects (FAE), as well as with their families and communities. Dr. Streissguth is the recipient of numerous awards for her outstanding contribution and research on FAS/FAE. She has completed a major research project funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on secondary disabilities in individuals with FAS/FAE. With her colleagues, she has also initiated a 5-year study of magnetic resonance imaging and neuropsychological functioning in people with FAS/FAE, funded by NIAAA. The Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, which Dr. Streissguth directs, has investigated many types of prenatal influences on later development in offspring including alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, aspirin, and acetaminophen, and rubella virus. In all, Dr. Streissguth has published over 190 scientific papers, three books, and a slide-teaching curriculum on Alcohol and Pregnancy. She has written extensively on the topic of FAS/FAE, including two books published in the fall of 1997: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: A Guide for Families and Communities and The Challenge of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Overcoming Secondary Disabilities. Dr. Streissguth received the KINDER Award for Contributions to the Well Being of Children at Risk from the KINDER Clinic, University of Texas - Houston Health Science Center. She was also awarded the Rosett Award for Outstanding Contributions to FAS from the FAS Study Group of the Research Society on Alcoholism.

ANN's Latest Project:

Problems related to brain damage are the biggest source of disability from prenatal alcohol exposure and they are not exclusive to FAS. Alcohol is a teratogen that can cause a range of birth defects and affects different people differently. Some individuals whose brains are damaged by exposure to alcohol before birth lack the distinguishing facial anomalies of FAS. They are said to have possible fetal alcohol effects (FAE).

Although the effects of brain damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol are plain, their relationship to specific physical anomalies in the brain is not so clear. Many animal studies have demonstrated structural and functional brain impairment as a result of prenatal exposure to alcohol. But, in people with FAS, typical clinical readings of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have usually failed to localize brain features that may be only slightly abnormal, yet result in behavior that is clearly the result of brain damage.

A new study led by CHDD research affiliate Dr. Ann Streissguth is designed to elucidate those features. She and her colleagues will be studying the brains and behaviors of individuals with FAS and FAE and comparing them with controls. Using innovative methods of evaluating brain images and specialized neuropsychological testing, their goal is to detect and measure subtle details of brain impairment and tie them to the behavioral problems associated with prenatal exposure to alcohol. According to Streissguth, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, one of the strengths of the five-year study, which is funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is the combined perspectives of researchers from different disciplines-- neuroradiology, statistics and psychology.

The brain images to be used in the study are standard MR images, the same as those commonly used to diagnose brain tumors. The new method of image analysis was developed by Dr. Fred Bookstein, distinguished research scientist at the University of Michigan, and Dr. Paul Sampson, UW research associate professor of statistics.

"We now have a way of taking this labeled picture of the brain and treating it as a big, complicated piece of data. And, we have figured out how to correlate this complicated piece of data with another complicated piece of data--the profile of performance on a set of neurobehavioral tests--so we can see the extent to which behavior is predicted by structural damage."

Streissguth and Dr. Paul Connor, senior fellow at the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, have designed a battery of tests that will assess study subjects' neuropsychological functioning. The battery addresses specific areas known to be problematic for people with FAS, such as attentional processes and spatial learning. "We've used many of the techniques in the past and found them to be particularly sensitive to prenatal alcohol effects. Also, we are developing some new tests," says Streissguth. "The tests we're using aren't tests that make up a standard neuropsychological battery. Most standard batteries have been developed for people who had an intact brain and then met with an accident or illness. Those tests haven't been as sensitive and discriminating for many people with fetal alcohol effects as the tests we are going to use."

Streissguth is confident that they will be able to recruit the 180 subjects needed for the study. "The sample of patients that we'll be drawing from has been accruing for 23 years here at the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit," notes Streissguth. "They have all been seen by a dysmorphologist and been diagnosed with either the full FAS or possible FAE."

Sixty individuals with FAS, 60 with FAE and 60 controls will have MRIs and undergo the battery of neuropsychologic tests. Within each group, half will be adolescents and half adults and, within age groups, half will be male and half female.

"Many of the patients that we've talked with have been quite interested in participating," says Streissguth. "They are interested in how the brain works and how it might work differently as a kind of validation for the experiences they've had." This validation can be especially important for people with FAE.

Streissguth Teaching - Streissguth Gardens

"People who don't have the facial features are truly discriminated against in terms of services," Streissguth points out. "When they don't have a classic FAS face, the tendency is to act as though there's nothing wrong. They are expected to perform normally, but they're goofing up all the time. They get blamed for being lazy or careless, yet these people have functional brain impairments.

"We find that people with FAS and FAE span a wide range of intellectual functioning. We have many patients that test in the normal range on IQ tests even though they have experienced prenatal brain damage. Because their insult is to the developing brain rather than to the fully developed brain, we don't have an opportunity for a pre-/post- evaluation like we do for people who have brain damage from some trauma, such as head injuries from an automobile accident. After an injury, a person may still function normally on an IQ test, but with areas of deficit. People find that type of brain damage easier to understand because they remember how they were before the auto accident. They knew they were functioning normally then. But people who sustain a prenatal insult to the brain have never had a period of normal functioning."

Now, Ann's letter to me:

Dear Kevin, (adoptive name)

I am dazzled to find your email on my screen, while I'm seated here in Seattle at SEA-TAC airport on the first leg of a long journey.  Thank you for writing me, and most importantly, thank you for writing to your legislators in Canada.  It is more important than ever to continue getting the message out to our governing agencies, to protect the next generation of children from fetal alcohol damage.  You are doing heroic work!!  I thank you for it and look forward to hearing from you again some time.

All best wishes,
Ann Streissguth

Ann P. Streissguth, Ph.D., Professor Emerita,
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences,
Fetal Alcohol & Drug Unit,
University of Washington School of Medicine, Box #359112,
Seattle, Washington 98195-9112

Thank you so much, Ann. I will Write again. Maybe when our Gov't finally gets it: I must say this also on behalf of Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, our Canadian Liberal Health critic who knows about my goals and does fight for the rights of babies but is also associated with Woman's Right Issues. It may be a juggling act with Hedy Fry, but I believe FASD prevention to be a humantarian issue - meaning that it is everybody's job, male or female, to stop this 100% preventable problem.

Laws About Pregnant Women and Substance Abuse Questioned

News Bureau Illinois   No restriction on sharing.  Also: Email to a friend
Dr Erin.N. Linder Ph.,D. (Female)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — In Wisconsin, an expectant woman can be taken into custody if police believe her abuse of alcohol may harm her unborn child. In South Dakota, pregnant alcohol and drug users can be committed to treatment centers for up to nine months.

Under a legal theory known as fetal rights, more than 20 states have enacted laws that target women for actions taken during pregnancy. What began as legislation requiring hospitals to report an expectant mother’s crack-cocaine use has expanded to laws that punish women for drinking alcohol that may harm the fetus they are carrying.

Such efforts are “inherently flawed,” according to a University of Illinois legal scholar. “Not only does a punitive approach assume that a pregnant woman and her fetus occupy adversarial roles, but it also fails to address addiction as the root of the problem,” Erin N. Linder wrote in the University of Illinois Law Review.

“Even more troubling,” Linder noted, “is the notion that states can intrude into the lives of pregnant women when the conduct at issue is a legal activity, such as the consumption of alcohol.” (Legal, maybe now. But I will strive to change that - author of blog.)

Historically, a fetus had no rights under common law, but more than 20 states, including Illinois, have amended laws in recent years to protect potential human life. The new statutes range from prosecution for attempted murder against women who use alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy to forced confinement and termination of parental rights.

In Wisconsin, for example, juvenile courts have the power to take protective custody of a fetus, and pregnant women may be subject to criminal and civil sanctions for “unborn child abuse.” Some proponents have called for legislation to allow children to sue their own mothers for “prenatal injuries.”

Ironically, according to Linder, jailing a woman for substance abuse cannot reverse the damage already done to her unborn child. In the case of alcohol, the worst damage takes place in the two-to-eight-week period after conception, “when many women do not even realize they are pregnant.” As a result, Linder continued, “statutory schemes that seek to prevent FAS (fetal alcohol syndrome) by identifying pregnant women who are abusing alcohol only prevent further damage to the fetus.”

The battle over fetal rights centers on the question of whether the unborn should be classified as a person under the law. The Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade (1973) that the word “person” in the 14th Amendment does not include fetuses. Consequently, the unborn are not entitled to constitutional protection.

The court, however, acknowledged that a viable fetus may enjoy protection from non-constitutional sources, and states had the right to define and protect the rights of potential human life where there was an “important legitimate interest.”

Following Roe, which overturned state laws banning or restricting abortions, more than 20 legislatures altered the born-alive rule. This rule required that a fetus had to be born alive before criminal charges could be brought for any injuries suffered during gestation.

“As many states consider the protection of fetuses an important state objective, more states began using criminal sanctions to protect the health of the fetus, independent from the interests of the mother,” Linder noted.

In 1989, Jennifer Johnson became the first woman convicted for giving birth to a drug-exposed fetus when a Florida court determined that Johnson knowingly delivered a controlled substance to a minor. The Florida Supreme Court reversed the conviction on the grounds that the drug delivery status did not apply to the facts of Johnson’s case.

South Carolina became the only state to interpret its statutes to hold that a viable fetus was a person and has prosecuted the largest number of women in the country for prenatal drug abuse. The U.S. Supreme Court has not taken up a review of the South Carolina laws.

Alcohol, as well as drug abuse, are serious health concerns for pregnant women, according to Linder. The consumption of alcohol can result not only in permanent brain damage, but cause developmental and behavioral problems in children.

But many other activities – including smoking cigarettes, taking over-the-counter medications and even exercising – can also harm the well-being of a fetus.

While overall rates of alcohol use during pregnancy have declined somewhat since 1995, alcohol use before pregnancy has not.

(In as little as 15 minutes, water-soluble alcohol can pass through the placenta membrane of a pregnant mother, causing the fetus’ blood alcohol content to equal that of the mother. But unlike the mother, the fetus is not able to quickly metabolize the alcohol and eliminate it from its system. Instead, the toxin lingers within the placenta, disrupting formation of the fetus by impairing fetal oxygen supply and disrupting protein synthesis and hormone production.)

Criminalizing the behavior of pregnant women does not solve their substance abuse problems, according to Linder. In fact, the newly enacted harsh penalties are likely to frighten women away from needed treatment, especially low-income women who have so far borne the brunt of intervention by juvenile courts and the police.

Advocates of fetal protection and health could better direct their efforts by promoting education and treatment facilities for women. The dangers of maternal alcohol use – and of binge drinking among women of childbearing age – could be made part of high-school sex education courses, she noted. In addition, health-care providers should be encouraged to educate pregnant women about the dangers of alcohol and drug consumption.

“Ultimately,” Linder concluded, “government should foster programs that recognize the unitary interests of a woman and her fetus and seek to protect this unique biological relationship.”

A former editor at the Illinois journal, Linder now works at a Chicago law firm. Her article is titled, "Punishing Prenatal Alcohol Abuse: The Problems Inherent in Utilizing Civil Commitment to Address Addiction."