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FASD in the News


August 2023

FASD United creates a one-pager on FASD and the Foster Care System

Go here for information on Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Foster Care in Maine










































July 2023



National Organization Endorses the FASD Respect Act

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has become the fifth national organization to sign on to a letter of support for S1800/HR3946: The FASD Respect Act. This organization is a return supporter, having endorsed the FASD Respect Act introduced in the 117th Congress. Thank you to the advocates who have tirelessly worked to spread awareness and widen the circle.

Check for listings in your state or area and let your lawmakers know about the organizations in your area who think The FASD Respect Act should be passed this legislative session. Are you part of a business, group or organization that would endorse the FASD Respect Act? Click Here. Are you a person wanting to make a difference? Click Here.

e Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption has become the fifth national organization to sign on to a letter of support for S1800/HR3946: The FASD Respect Act. This organization is a return supporter, having endorsed the FASD Respect Act introduced in the 117th Congress. Thank you to the advocates who have tirelessly worked to spread awareness and widen the circle.

Check for listings in your state or area and let your lawmakers know about the organizations in your area who think The FASD Respect Act should be passed this legislative session. Are you part of a business, group or organization that would endorse the FASD Respect Act? Click Here. Are you a person wanting to make a difference? Click Here.

June 2023

ASD Hope features interview with  FASD Camp President and founder Nicholas Tassone and Chief Administrative Officer, Emma Melendez-Scherer.

"The purpose of CAMP FASD is to provide a positive and safe environment for children with FASD, in which to build skills that will assist them in everyday life. Accordingly, their contributions are recognized and appreciated, thereby creating a constructive experience and increased self-image. The vision of CAMP FASD is to be recognized as a leading resource for FASD by children and their families, demonstrated by the differences made in their lives. "

About FASD Camp

Apply here for summer 2024

Watch video about camp here

May 2023

Dr. Jeffrey Wozniak PhD uses choline to help children affected by FASD

"Did your parents make you take vitamins growing up, and you never really understood why? Well, your parents did you a favor because certain in-takes of nutrients can have enormous effects on your childhood brain development. An application of this concept is being tested by Jeffrey Wozniak, PhD, LP, who created a choline-based vitamin treatment to help enhance brain development in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), which are brain abnormalities as a result of prenatal alcohol exposure."

Additional information here.

Participate in research go here

Ireland to introduce world-first alcohol health labelling policy

Sellers will have to warn of the specific risks of liver disease and fatal cancers from drinking alcohol. They will also have to notify buyers of the risks to pregnancy, the calorie content of the beverage and the number of grams of alcohol it contains.

The new labels are intended to help inform people who aren't fully aware of the health effects of drinking, officials said. According to the annual government-commissioned Healthy Ireland survey, 79% of respondents didn't know about the risk of breast cancer from drinking more than recommended, 60% didn't know about the risks of bowel cancer and 7% believed it was safe to drink small amounts of alcohol while pregnant.

FASD Maine has a summer PR intern

We at FASD Maine would like to introduce our new summer PR intern, Cameron Thompson. Cameron grew up between Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and Winter Park, Florida, and just completed his third year studying English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to his capacities at FASD Maine, Cameron will work as a Head Bunk Counselor at Camp Kieve

in Nobleboro—his third year as a counselor after nine years as a camper. Cameron is excited to get started and raise awareness for FASD in this newly created role. Welcome Cameron!

Australian Olympian turned women’s health doctor, Dr. Jana Pittman wants to get Australians talking about alcohol-free pregnancies, and safe breastfeeding practices.

Announced this month as an ambassador for the Every Moment Matters campaign, Dr. Pittman is encouraging Australians to learn more about how every moment matters in a pregnancy when it comes to alcohol use. Developed by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and endorsed and funded by the federal government, Every Moment Matters is Australia’s first nationwide public awareness campaign to raise awareness of the risk of alcohol use during pregnancy.

“In my experience with friends, family and even patients, I can see there is so much misinformation about alcohol and what is and isn’t safe during pregnancy and also while breastfeeding,” Dr Pittman said. “I’m hoping we can start more conversations about supporting alcohol-free pregnancies, and promote evidence-based strategies to ensure breastmilk that is fed to babies is alcohol-free too.


April 2023

Exposure to Alcohol Through Breastmilk Affects Brain and Behavioral Development

Neuroscience News  April 20, 2023

Summary: Exposure to alcohol through a mother’s breastmilk can have serious and lasting implications for brain and behavioral development in children. Researchers found alcohol exposure via breastmilk resulted in smaller body and brain growth and decreased cortical length in mouse models.


Previous research on alcohol use and breastfeeding/outcomes

May, Philip PhD, et al. Breastfeeding and Maternal Alcohol Use:Prevalence and Effects on Child Outcomes and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Reprod Toxicol. 2016 August ; 63: 13–21. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2016.05.002.


Objective—Determine any effects that maternal alcohol consumption during the breastfeeding period has on child outcomes.

Methods—Population-based samples of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), normally-developing children, and their mothers were analyzed for differences in child outcomes.

Conclusions—Alcohol use during the period of breastfeeding was found to significantly compromise a child's development.

March 2023

Current considerations for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: identification to intervention

Leila Glass, Eileen M. Moore and Sarah N. Mattson

This review highlights recent findings regarding the prevalence, public health impact, clinical presentation, intervention access and conceptualization of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Despite ongoing work in prevention and identification of this population, the rates of drinking during pregnancy have increased and significant gaps remain in diagnosis and intervention.

Prenatal alcohol exposure is the most common preventable cause of developmental disability in the world. Research has focused on improving diagnostic clarity, utilizing technology and neuroimaging to facilitate identification, engaging broader stakeholders (including self-advocates) to inform understanding and needs, and increasing access to effective interventions. There is an emerging focus on developmental trajectories and experiences in young and middle adulthood. Public policy advocacy has also made great strides in recent years.

Increases in public awareness, greater concordance of diagnostic schema, leveraged use of novel technology, and the development of targeted interventions within a holistic, strengths-based conceptualization are important considerations for this population.

Glass, Leila, et al. Current Considerations for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders:identification to intervention. Curr Opin Psychiatry 2023, 36:000 – 000 DOI:10.1097/YCO.0000000000000862

Legislation Introduced in New York to Include FASD as Developmental Disability

The New York State Senate has seen legislation (A.2297/S.1866.) introduced by Senator Samara Brouk of the 55th District and Assembly member Sarah Clark of the 136th District that seeks to amend the Mental Health Hygiene Law, adding FASDs to the definition of “developmental disability”.  This change would include fetal alcohol syndrome, partial fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder.  2023 has already seen similar legislation introduced in North Dakota, where the State Senate seeks to include FASDs in the definition of developmental disability as part of a larger FASD related bill.

States that  currently include FASD under IDEA category , Other Health Impairment*:          




States with pending FASD legislation:

      •New York  S 1866

      •North Dakota SB 2335

States with pending FASD legislation that would  increase comprehensive services for all children, youth, adults with FASD:

       •Washington  HB 1168

* "Other Health Impairment" is one of the 13 categories of disability listed in our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, a child who has an “other health impairment” is very likely to be eligible for special services to help the child address his or her educational, developmental, and functional needs resulting from the disability. Currently, most states do not include FASD as a named condition under the OHI category. In these states, a student with FASD could be eligible for services; it requires more effort and the student may not ultimately qualify for services, or the student may not receive FASD specific support.

For more general information and to see how other states obtain support for students with FASD go here  and   here.


January 2023

CDC  Alcohol Use, Screening, and Brief Intervention Among Pregnant Persons — 24 U.S. Jurisdictions, 2017 and 2019 Weekly / January 20, 2023 / 72(3);55–62  Jackie Luong, et al.

  • 80% of pregnant persons reported being asked about their alcohol use

  • Only 16% of those with past 30-day alcohol consumption were advised by a health care provider to quit or reduce their alcohol use.

Disparities in alcohol screening were observed among pregnant persons with lower educational attainment.

Alcohol screening and brief intervention (ASBI) is an evidence-based tool to reduce alcohol consumption in adults, including pregnant persons. Implementation of recommended Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (ASBI) among pregnant persons can help prevent alcohol use or reduce current drinking. Strategies to enhance ASBI include integrating screenings into electronic health records, increasing reimbursement for ASBI services, and development of additional tools including electronic ASBI.

There is no known safe amount of alcohol, type of alcohol, or timing of alcohol use during pregnancy or while trying to become pregnant. Alcohol in the mother’s blood passes to the baby through the umbilical cord. Alcohol use during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, and a range of lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities. These disabilities are known as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs)

AAP Screening for Prenatal Alcohol Exposure


October 2022

Passage of landmark law in California, SB 1016, for the first time specifies Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) as a named condition that qualifies a person to receive special education services under the category “Other Health Impairment.”  This will improve the lives of thousands of people living with FASD, a disability that affects up to 1 in 20 school children, making it the most prevalent, yet mostly unrecognized, developmental disability in the US.

Change the law in Maine so that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is a "named condition" that qualifies a student to receive special services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) category of "Other Health Impairment."

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is currently not a recognized category for special education under IDEA. It is also not named as a disorder under the Other Health Impaired category (Scroll to #2, J), by the Maine Department of Education. Hence, students with the most prevalent developmental disability in the US  are being underserved in school districts across the state, unable to make the most of their neurodiversity and many skills and talents; due to lack of services and support in childhood, these students and their families often suffer lifelong consequences. 

There is precedent for this kind of legislation. Other states including Alaska, Minnesota, and now California consider FASD as a qualifying condition for special education. Advocates strongly believe that by recognizing and appropriately addressing FASD in education the trend towards secondary disabilities can be disrupted and the school-to-prison pipeline for students on the FASD spectrum can be broken. 

For more information about IDEA and "other health impairment" re:FASD.

Choline Supplementation as a Neurodevelopmental Intervention in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Study (CHOLINE4)  Clinical Trial 

Dr. Jeff Wozniak PhD University of Minnesota and NIAAA 

Open Recruitment      Children Ages 30-72 months  Eligibility details here

This is a randomized, double-blind controlled trial of choline supplementation in children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). The study is comparing two administration durations (3 months vs. 6 months) of choline. The primary outcome measures are cognitive measures.

This project is the fourth in a series of randomized, double-blind controlled trials of choline bitartrate in children ages 2.5 - 5 (under 6) years with prenatal alcohol exposure. Pre-clinical data suggests that choline may attenuate the cognitive deficits caused by prenatal alcohol exposure (especially memory deficits). This study will evaluate the effects of daily choline supplementation in two dosing regimens (3 months choline vs. 6 months choline). 

Previous study on FASD and choline supplementation

Dr. Wozniak PhD  Video (2015) Choline supplementation and PAE

Prenatal and Postnatal Choline Supplementation Ernst, Abigail, et al. Nutrients. 2022 Feb; 14(3): 688

August 2022

Alcohol Consumption is Increasing During Pregnancy: Why Experts Are Alarmed

  • A new report in JAMA Network states that heavy alcohol consumption increased among pregnant women between 2011 and 2020.

  • Experts say this is a worrisome trend because any amount of alcohol during pregnancy poses risks for an unborn child.

  • They say stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to alcohol use during pregnancy, but they add that there also appears to be a general relaxation about drinking while pregnant.


"It was disheartening to see that both binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption did increase in pregnant women in the last decade. I’m not particularly surprised by it, unfortunately,” said Dr. Vanessa Parisi, OB-GYN, the president of the New Jersey OBGYN Society and a team member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Prevention Program.

The work has to start with the education of the medical provider. How to ask open-ended questions without stigma. To tell our patients there is no safe amount, type, or timing of alcohol in pregnancy.

We should all be using a validated screening tool like AUDIT-US…Properly tackling this at preconception and annual visits can address the issue and drastically decrease the incidence of FASDs.”  Dr. Vanessa Parisi MD ACOG.

July 2022

The Overlooked Toll of Drinking While Pregnant    Emma Yasinski

National Geographic  July 2022

Studies have estimated that fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, or FASD, affect between

1 and 5 percent of the population, though experts suspect the prevalence is even higher.

“It wasn't until 14 years into our son’s life that we really started to connect the dots,” that the prenatal exposure to alcohol affected his development and behavior, says Sheagren, a filmmaker in Minnesota. He was surprised. “This is such a prevalent issue,” he says. “How come I didn’t know?”

Alcohol study funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation finds only risks, zero benefits for young adults

The analysis—part of the wider Global Burden of Disease study- was published in The Lancet medical journal July 14, 2022.

It found that for young adults between the ages of 15 and 39:

  • There were zero health benefits—only risk

  • Globally, almost 60% of people who consumed unsafe amounts of alcohol in 2020 fell into this age bracket

  • Our message is simple: Young people should not drink.

May 2022

Preliminary Findings From Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, 2021

Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) SAHMSA

  • The top five drugs involved in drug-related ED visits in 2021 were alcohol (39.33%), opioids (14.07%), methamphetamine (11.02%), marijuana (10.78%), and cocaine (4.71%).

  • Of the 2,942,609 alcohol related ED visits, male patients accounted for 71.01 percent of alcohol-related ED visits, while female patients accounted for 851,591 (28.94 percent) of these visits.

  • The percentage of alcohol-related ED visits was highest among patients ages 26 to 44 (40.63%) followed closely by patients ages 45 to 64 (38.92%).

  • The top six drugs involved in polysubstance ED visits (i.e., visits related to more than one drug) in sentinel hospitals were alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl. While the majority of alcohol-related ED visits were due to alcohol alone, a significant percentage of methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl-related ED visits involved at least one other drug.

February 2022

New Tools May Help Diagnose Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Emma Yasinski  The Smithsonian

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders may look like other conditions. Biomarkers could provide a more accurate diagnosis. If conditions stemming from exposure to alcohol in-utero can be better identified, then scientists can more effectively research treatments.

Dr. Christie Petrenko PhD 

FASD Hope Podcast Interview 

Dr. Christie Petrenko PhD discusses the final stage of the resourceful, innovative and accessible "Families Moving Forward Connect App".  Dr. Petrenko is a clinical psychologist and researcher who has been conducting research with individuals with FASD since 2003. Her research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for people with FASD, including the use of mobile health technology to increase access to care. Dr. Petrenko also runs a multidisciplinary FASD clinic - providing diagnostic, intervention and family support services in Rochester, NY.

January 2022

The CDC published its latest MMWR (1/7 pregnancies alcohol exposed) 

Alcohol Consumption and Binge Drinking During Pregnancy Among Adults Aged 18–49 Years — United States, 2018–2020   

In the U.S. 13.5% of pregnant adults reported drinking at least one alcoholic drink in the last 30 days, 5.2% reported binge drinking - four or more drinks on at least one occasion in the last 30days. This is an increase of 2 percentage points from 2019 data, in which 11.5% of pregnancies were alcohol exposed. In New England (Region 1) the rate of reported alcohol use among pregnant adults was 1 in 6, 16.4%. This was the second highest rate in the country - Region 9 was 16.6%

Latest statistics from the CDC/DHHS on Alcohol Use in Pregnancy

According to the DHHS CDC  January 2022 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR):

  • Current alcohol use among pregnant adults during 2018–2020 13.5%, and 5.2%  binge drinking

  • Both measures were 2 percentage points higher than during 2015–2017. 

  • The rate of current alcohol use for pregnant adults in New England (Region 1) was higher than the national rate, at 16.4%, 1 in 6.

  • PRAMS Maine (CDC Data) reported the rate of alcohol use by pregnant adults was 10% or greater in six of Maine's sixteen counties.

  • Sagadahoc County, 1/8  Lincoln County  1/7,  Cumberland County 1/6.

September 2021

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: How FASDs Occur, Why They Go Undiagnosed, What Can Be Done to Help Children With These Conditions

Jennifer Rooks of Maine Public, "Maine Calling", interviews two of FASD Maine's co-founders Constance Mazelsky and Madonna Mooney, Dr. Douglas Waite AAP FASD Educator and Division Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Bronxcare Health System, and Susan Shepherd Carlson, retired juvenile court judge and former First Lady of Minnesota; board member, National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Senator Susan Collins Press Release

Senator Collins Announces her co-sponsorship of the FASD Respect Act, S.2238. 

“Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders can cause tremendous harm to a child’s physical, mental, behavioral, and cognitive development,” said Senator Collins. “Amid FASD Awareness Month, this important bill would strengthen federal, state, and local programs and funding to support individuals and families affected by these heartbreaking conditions. This legislation is critical to protecting the health of mothers and their babies.”

July 2018

PBS News Hour   

"Fetal Alcohol Disorders Are More Common Than You Think"


May 2016

PBS News Hour   

"This Chicago doctor stumbled on a hidden epidemic of fetal brain damage"


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