Centro Nazionale Sostanze Chimiche, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma
Indirizzo per corrispondenza: firstname.lastname@example.org
Key words: Alcohol, Foetal alcohol syndrome, Biomarker
New patterns of alcohol drinking are leading to a significant increase in alcohol damage. Epidemiological data show lowering age of first alcohol use that in Italy is close to 12 ys, and an increasing number of female drinkers. The latest evidence indicates a higher risk for female pathologies and for alcohol drinking during pregnancy with consequent foetal alcohol exposure. In the western countries, prenatal alcohol exposure is the main preventable cause of mental retardation in children. Alcohol produces negative effects on foetal development globally defined FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders) and the major consequence is FAS (Foetal Alcohol Syndrome). Recent epidemiological studies show that FAS and FASD are present in Italy and are surely underestimated. Some aspects of alcohol-related problems in paediatric age are discussed in the present article together with recent perspectives in the study on new biomarkers. However, prevention is the mainstay where paediatricians may have a pivotal role in recognizing and treating alcohol disease in the newborn and in the early adolescent promptly.
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