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Angeles County | Community News File / Westwood

Clinic to Treat Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to Open

January 08, 1998

UCLA will open a clinic to diagnose children with fetal alcohol syndrome and related disorders.

Director Mary O'Connor said the facility is the first of its kind in Southern California.

O'Connor, a psychiatrist and expert on the syndrome, will lead a team of psychologists, psychiatrists and pediatricians at the clinic, which will be equipped to treat patients later this year, she said.

Fetal alcohol syndrome affects as many as 10,000 newborns a year nationwide, and thousands more are born with other alcohol-related defects.

Symptoms include learning problems, attention-deficit disorder, poor memory, growth retardation and abnormal facial features.

The syndrome is caused by heavy drinking during pregnancy--episodes of five or more drinks per occasion or persistent drinking of three or more drinks a day.

"The earlier the problems are identified, the better the outcome," O'Connor said.

There has been an increase in the recognition of the syndrome, first described in 1973, she said.

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