Abstract: Developing FASD prevention in Russia

The following abstract was presented at the Implementation Science and Global Health satellite meeting on March 17, 2010 at Bethesda, Maryland.


Tatiana Balachova, PhD
Assistant Professor
Co-Director, ITP/ITIUC
Center on Child Abuse and Neglect
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center


  • Barbara Bonner, PhD, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

FIC Award


Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is the leading preventable cause of mental retardation and one of the most severe outcomes of maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol consumption at lower levels can result in a range of less profound effects called Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FAS rates reported from different countries are 1 to 46 per 1,000 live births with rates of FASD believed to be ten times higher. Although the rates of FAS/FASD in Russia are not precisely known, Russia has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption and increasing drinking in women and resent studies found high rates of FAS in Russian orphanages. Our previous study indicated that many Russian women who may become pregnant use alcohol at hazardous levels and are at a particular risk for alcohol-exposed pregnancies. Increasingly hazardous drinking in women indicates that prevention of alcohol-exposed pregnancies is an important public health issue in Russia. 

A line of international projects aimed at preventing FASD in children has been developed in Russia. The projects, funded by NIH and CDC, include

  1. a large scale collection of data critical to developing FAS prevention;
  2. development of FASD education materials for the general public and physicians in Russia,
  3. development of the first web-based FASD education resource in the Russian language, and
  4. a two-arm, 20-site randomized trial to test a prevention intervention for at-risk women. The clinical trial is being conducted currently (R01AA016234).

It is the first randomized trial targeted at alcohol exposed pregnancies and preventing FASD in Russia. The project focuses on testing an ARND/FASD prevention model that is specifically designed to be deliverable routinely to large numbers of women in OB/GYN clinics in Russia. Effectiveness of this intervention across alcohol consumption levels will be explored and knowledge gained from the study can contribute to the FASD prevention research throughout the world. The topics to discuss are:

  1. lessons learned from establishing the Prevent FAS Research Group and conducting four international collaborative studies; and
  2. a strategy of developing prevention that is based on both research and training resources developed in the U.S. and other countries and on assessments of specific needs or targeted populations, cultural attitudes, local resources, and current medical practices.

Updated May 2010