About this book
My initial purpose in writing this book was to offer readers an update of my book Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effects (Plenum, 1984), which con tained a broad overview of the history (actually the absence of any history) ofthe awareness of alcohol's teratogenic potential; a review of alcohol's pharmacology, especially with respect to pregnancy; a survey of the physical and behavioral effects of prenatal alcohol exposure; and an overview of the mechanisms sus pected of being responsible for those effects. I have omitted most of the previously examined historical and pharmacologi cal information because not much of what was previously discussed needed revision. On the other hand, because much more has been learned about the consequences of prenatal alcohol exposure and its potential mechanisms of action, I have considerably expanded my discussion of these topics. In doing so, I have attempted to include as much new material as possible without (I hope) being overly pedantic and thereby losing the proverbial forest for the trees. No book is ever entirely neutral in the topics it discusses, the issues it raises, or in its conclusions. In sifting through hundreds and oftentimes thousands of articles, writers have to choose which facts to emphasize and which to ignore. Every idea cannot be chronicled and every article cannot (and should not) be cited. In going about the business of picking and choosing, however, a writer has an obligation to present the arguments for and against a particular conclusion.
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