February 4, 2013

Boonshoft School of Medicine Professor and Epidemiologist to discuss fetal alcohol spectrum disorders on Feb. 6 at Wright State

Sara PatonDAYTON—Alcohol can affect a baby at any time during pregnancy. Prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause permanent brain damage. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) affect not just individuals but also the community. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that FASD costs the United States more than $4 billion per year. The lifetime cost for each child with FASD is more than $2 million.

Sara Paton, Ph.D., associate professor in the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine Department of Community Health, will speak about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) at a Public Health Grand Rounds event on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 3:30-4:30 p.m., in the Atlantis Room in the Student Union at Wright State University.

Paton, who also is an epidemiologist with Public Health – Dayton Montgomery County, will address how alcohol affects a developing baby’s brain and body, FASD prevention and why FASD is a community issue. “The alcohol damage to the FASD individual is irreversible,” Paton said. “The child will use community services throughout his or her lifetime.”

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous teratogens, which are substances that can damage a developing fetus. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has revealed that some individuals who were prenatally exposed to alcohol have smaller brains. “Some parts of the brain also may be damaged or missing,” Paton said. “Resulting impairments may include, but are not limited to, mental retardation, learning disabilities, attention deficits, hyperactivity, problems with impulse control, language, memory and social skills.”

Free and open to the public, the event is part of the school of medicine’s Public Health Grand Rounds, which seeks to inform health professionals about public health topics related to prevention and workforce development.

Health educators and professionals, students and interested community members are invited to attend. Space is limited. To register, call Pam Mondini at (937) 258-5555 or e-mail pam.mondini@wright.edu.