The world seminar on the prevention of Fœtal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) was held on 9 September. On this occasion, Jean-Marc Buziau, paediatrician and head of a premature medical-social action centre (PMSAC) in Caudry (northern France), was interviewed by the newspaper, La Voix du Nord.
Dr. J-M. Buziau emphasised that alcohol during pregancy “is undoubtedly the main cause of mental handicap“. He explained that, at his PMSAC, almost 20% of the children followed-up were “directly or indirectly affected by fœtal alcoholism. […] FAS affects three out of every thousand babies in France and three per cent, i.e. ten times more, in the north. Globally, this disorder affects 1% of births to varying degree“.
Potential sequelae, which vary in severity but are always “irremediable” explained the doctor, include “mental retardation and facial, cardiac and skeletal anomalies, etc.“. Children who are most affected, he explained, “have major learning difficulties and may go on to develop behavioural disorders“. “The golden rule, [he reminded us,] is zero alcohol during pregnancy, from conception through to birth. There is no such thing as small or large quantities of alcohol. Women who drink during pregnancy are jeopardising their unborn babies“.
Therefore, in order to prevent this syndrome, the paediatrician stated that doctors should be “duty bound” “to give as much information as early as possible“.