Fetal alcohol syndrome and the risk of neurodevelopmental disorders: A longitudinal cohort study



      This hypothesis-testing study evaluated the relationship between fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) and neurodevelopmental disorder (ND) diagnoses within the Independent Healthcare Research Database (IHRD).


      De-identified eligibility and claim healthcare records prospectively generated from the 1990–2012 Florida Medicaid system were analyzed using SAS software. There were 89,766 children continuously eligible with ≥10 outpatient office visits during the 120 month period following birth in the cohort examined. A total of 321 children were diagnosed with FAS. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (n = 922), tics (n = 551), attention deficit disorder/attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) (n = 20,260), mental retardation (MR) (n = 915), and specific delays in development (SDD) (n = 24,630) incidence rates were examined using frequency risk ratio (RR) and logistic regression models.


      The incidence rate of tics (RR = 5.68), ADD/ADHD (RR = 2.30), MR (RR = 7.83), SDD (RR = 2.88), and ASD (RR = 6.74) were significantly increased among FAS diagnosed children as compared to undiagnosed children. Adjusted (for gender, race, residency, and date of birth) odds ratios (ORs) were significantly increased for tics (OR = 4.87), ADD/ADHD (OR = 3.40), MR (OR = 7.91), SDD (OR = 9.56), and ASD (OR = 6.87) when comparing the FAS diagnosed children to undiagnosed children.


      Tens of thousands of American children with lifetime costs in the billions of US dollars were estimated to be impacted by FAS-associated NDs. These impacts are particularly tragic because FAS is dependent upon lifestyle.


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