Association between prenatal alcohol exposure and craniofacial shape of children at 12 months of age

Muggli, Evelyne, Matthews, Harold, Penington, Anthony, Claes, Peter, O'Leary, Colleen, Forster, Della, Donath, Susan, Anderson, Peter J., Lewis, Sharon, Nagle, Cate, Craig, Jeffrey M., White, Susan M., Elliott, Elizabeth J., and Halliday, Jane (2017) Association between prenatal alcohol exposure and craniofacial shape of children at 12 months of age. JAMA Pediatrics, 171 (8). pp. 771-780.

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Abstract

Importance: Children who receive a diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder may have a characteristic facial appearance in addition to neurodevelopmental impairment. It is not well understood whether there is a gradient of facial characteristics of children who did not receive a diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder but who were exposed to a range of common drinking patterns during pregnancy.

Objective: To examine the association between dose, frequency, and timing of prenatal alcohol exposure and craniofacial phenotype in 12-month-old children.

Design, setting and participants: A prospective cohort studywas performed from January 1, 2011, to December 30, 2014, among mothers recruited in the first trimester of pregnancy from low-risk, public maternity clinics inmetropolitan Melbourne, Australia. A total of 415 white children were included in this analysis of 3-dimensional craniofacial images taken at 12 months of age. Analysis was performed with objective, holistic craniofacial phenotyping using dense surface models of the face and head. Partial least square regression models included covariates known to affect craniofacial shape.

Exposures: Low, moderate to high, or binge-level alcohol exposure in the first trimester or throughout pregnancy.

Main outcomes and measures: Anatomical differences in global and regional craniofacial shape between children of women who abstained from alcohol during pregnancy and children with varying levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Results: Of the 415 children in the study (195 girls and 220 boys; mean [SD] age, 363.0 [8.3] days), a consistent association between craniofacial shape and prenatal alcohol exposure was observed at almost any level regardless of whether exposure occurred only in the first trimester or throughout pregnancy. Regions of difference were concentrated around the midface, nose, lips, and eyes. Directional visualization showed that these differences corresponded to general recession of the midface and superior displacement of the nose, especially the tip of the nose, indicating shortening of the nose and upturning of the nose tip. Differences were most pronounced between groups with no exposure and groups with low exposure in the first trimester (forehead), moderate to high exposure in the first trimester (eyes, midface, chin, and parietal region), and binge-level exposure in the first trimester (chin).

Conclusions and relevance: Prenatal alcohol exposure, even at low levels, can influence craniofacial development. Although the clinical significance of these findings is yet to be determined, they support the conclusion that for women who are or may become pregnant, avoiding alcohol is the safest option.

Item ID: 51185
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2168-6211
Funders: Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Victorian State Government (VSG)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC grant 1011070, NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship 1081288, NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship 1021252, NHMRC Practioner Fellowship 1021480, VSG Operational Infrastructure Support Program
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 07:45
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1110 Nursing > 111006 Midwifery @ 60%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 20%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1114 Paediatrics and Reproductive Medicine > 111402 Obstetrics and Gynaecology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920507 Womens Health @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920501 Child Health @ 50%
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