Fentanyl Causes a New Prenatal Syndrome, with Dr. Erica Fernandes

Fentanyl causes a new prenatal syndrome

Did you know fentanyl causes a new prenatal syndrome? That is what new research shows, and it adds to the despairing toll that fentanyl is taking on our country.

When I was growing up, I never heard about fentanyl. Today, you hear about it all the time. I remember a recent, sad case of when cadets at my alma mater, West Point, decided to try cocaine during Spring Break, and the coke was laced with fentanyl. I know a couple of them had to be brought back to life, and they are lucky they are even alive. Fentanyl shuts you down fast. I realize that they shouldn’t have done cocaine, particularly as USMA cadets, it’s just dumb. But the fact that fentanyl is being mixed into other drugs makes the risk of trying one of those other drugs (just to be adventurous or whatever) all the higher. The fact that fentanyl causes a new prenatal syndrome is not surprising to me, but it’s incredibly sad. It’s sad for the babies and it is a horrible reflection on our society. Still, I wanted to talk about it on my podcast, because it’s something you should be made aware of. It’s a public health imperative to inform people, specifically pregnant mothers.

In a recent episode of Causes or Cures,  I chatted with Dr. Erica Fernandes about how her and her team identified a new syndrome linked to fentanyl exposure while in the womb. Dr. Fernandes first discusses how a new syndrome related to developmental or genetic abnormalities is identified and then explains how they carried out their study at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware. She discusses the specific characteristics identified in the babies enrolled in their study and how fentanyl was identified as the common exposure. She explains how other known syndromes were ruled out and discusses ongoing research to determine how exactly fentanyl causes the new syndrome. Finally, she offers next steps in terms of informing the public and public health. Dr. Fernandes is a practicing physician and researcher in the division of medical genetics at Nemours Children’s Health. Her and her team’s study on the new syndrome was recently published here in Genetics in Medicine Open.

I hope you all tune in. In general, I think it’s interesting to learn how a new syndrome is identified and linked to a specific exposure. And it’s good to have on your radar and hopefully something you share with your buddies so they know. Who knows? The information has the potential to spare a baby this syndrome.

Please tune in to the episode here. 

By the way… I started uploading my podcast episodes on Youtube too. If that is your podcast avenue of choice, you can listen here. 

Here is the episode on Youtube:

Also check out some of the past episodes, including this great one on why we dream.  I think a lot of you will really like it. :)

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