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Genetics

Genetically speaking, what do we know about birth defects caused by thalidomide, cocaine and alcohol?

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BIRTH DEFECTS :

A birth defect is an abnormality that is present at birth. There are over 3,000 different known birth defects. A birth defect can occur in any major organ and in any part of the body, and can range from minor to severe. Many birth defects lead to mental or physical disabilities, but some birth defects are fatal. They are, in fact, the leading cause of death in the first year of life. Birth defects are also called congenital abnormalities.
Drugs that can cause birth defects include thalidomide, tetracycline, sulfa drugs, drugs used to treat tuberculosis and cancer, anticonvulsants, hormone supplements, recreational drugs such as LSD and cocaine, and certain drugs used to treat psychosis and anxiety.

BIRTH DEFECTS DUE TO THALIDOMIDE :

In Europe and Canada during the early 1960s, thalidomide was prescribed to treat morning sickness in pregnant women. At that time, it was not approved in the United States because Dr. Frances Kelsey from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated there was insufficient proof of the drug's safety in humans. Thalidomide was soon banned worldwide when it was discovered that it caused tragic birth defects. More than 10,000 children around the world were born with major malformations, many missing arms and legs, because ...

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