Monday, September 24, 2007

3D images help identify toxic effects of alcohol

Fetal alcohol syndrome, which results from mothers drinking excessively during pregnancy, consists of a variety of mental and physical birth defects caused by alcohol's impact on the development of the fetus. The most effective therapies for the condition depend on an early diagnosis, but finding reliable ways to determine who is affected has been challenging. Now a new study indicates 3D images of the face -- known as computerized craniofacial anthropometry -- may make it easy for physicians to diagnose fetal alcohol syndrome in babies and could even lead to treatments for reversing the damage and a better understanding of how alcohol affects the developing body.

The findings appear in the October issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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