“Behold, thou shalt conceive and bear a son:
and now drink no wine or strong drink.” Judges 13:7
In 1973, Jones and Smith
reported a syndrome that they labeled “Fetal Alcohol Syndrome” (FAS). They reported that this syndrome is characterized by defects that include prenatal and postnatal growth problems, microcephaly, abnormal development of the heart, defects of the joints, and facial abnormalities, especially of the eye.
A follow-up study by the same researchers and a few others looked at the records of a sample of 23 offspring born to heavy natural drinkers.
The results were that 17% of the infants died soon after birth. Among the survivors 44% were mild-to moderately retarded, and 32% presented with abnormal physical features.
For a while there was some thought on how much ingestion of alcohol actually caused FAS. Was it mild, moderate, or heavy drinking? Recent studies, especially one conducted by Hanson
in 1977, demonstrated that as little as two ounces of 100 proof alcohol consumed each day can cause a degree of FAS. In his sample of 74 women considered moderate drinkers 12% of the babies presented with one or more of the characteristics of FAS.