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about epicanthal folds, and alcohol in pregnancy?

(17 Posts)
blowthewindsoutherly Fri 05-Aug-11 19:26:44

I have a work colleague - she's not a friend but I see her socially a fair bit as our company is really family friendly and we socialise a lot.

Anyway, she has a habit of pointing out children with epicanthal folds - basically, where the inner corner of the eye next to the nose is covered by a fold of flesh. She basically insinuates that all children who have these have mothers who drank when pregnant as they are not genetically natural in white European children.

I have argued that obviously in children from places like Singapore, China, Japan etc it's perfectly natural, and that there is perhaps something in the genetic heritage of these children that gives them the folds, and not that the mother was on the sauce!!!

I don't actually know much about it though and I've googled it and can't really come up with a definitive shut-the-fuck-up answer, so, can anyone confirm for me what I think, which is that some children just inherit these genetically, even if they are white European?

Sirzy Fri 05-Aug-11 19:28:45

DS has them, the ophthalmologist has said that a lot of children are born with them never mentioned there being a cause for it.

BeattieBow Fri 05-Aug-11 19:30:23

my dd has/had these when she was little (they are less obvious now she is 8, but I do remember worrying that she had undiagnosed downs syndrome because they were so pronounced)- didn't drink a thing in pregnancy.

I've never heard they are linked to alcohol.

blowthewindsoutherly Fri 05-Aug-11 19:32:52

Thank you, that's very useful!

One of my friends has a little boy who has them and she is a very clean cut lady who never drinks! But my acquaintance thinks she just lies hmm

EggyAllenPoe Fri 05-Aug-11 19:35:10

DD1 had slight folding..her head has grown more....and now not. isn't it jsut on of those things

DH is of a very Nordic apparance and his eyes looked like that at birth. so, some have them. sh is talking rubbish. No link to booze.

fastweb Fri 05-Aug-11 19:37:51

Aside from it not being that easy to discern somebody's genetic heritage without their family tree at your disposal, there are a number of medical conditions that can cause them. Including pre term birth, so the kids she is pointing fingers at may well be former preemies rather than suffering from FAS.

From wiki


Medical conditions that cause the nasal bridge to not mature and project are associated with epicanthic folds. For example, one of the tell-tale signs of Down Syndrome is absent or hypoplastic (reduced) nasal bones and the accompanying presence of epicanthic folds.[7] In another medical condition, Peroxisomal Disorder, a flat nasal bridge is associated with epicanthic folds.[8] Another example is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome that causes a "broad low nasal bridge" and its accompanying epicanthic folds.[9] Another case occurs in people exposed to carbamazepine in the womb who turn out having a broad nasal bridge and epicanthic folds as a result.[10] Other examples are Cri du chat syndrome, Williams syndrome, and Triple-X syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and pre-term birth.[11]


cantthinkof1 Fri 05-Aug-11 19:56:32

My DS looked like he had a squint at times (at around 2 years), brought it up with health visitor and he was sent for eye test. We were told it was a "false squint" where the extra bit of skin covers the corner of the eye making it look like a squint. Quite common. Was told that as his nose grows it will pull this skin out and at 3 he no longer looks like he has a squint.
Didn't drink while ttc or while pregnant.

knittedbreast Fri 05-Aug-11 20:00:23

i still have these a tiny bit! they were far more pronounced when i was little. Both my children have had them and ive been told to take them to the doctors to get them snipped so my children can see! also i think my son used to have a false squint.

my family are from Norway and the other half southern europe and its in pretty much every generation in our family !

cantthinkof1 Fri 05-Aug-11 20:21:04

We are scottish born and bred as far back as I know. DS and I have red hair.
DN (also scottish born and bred as far back as we know) has this and has been called a white chinese person at school.

Everyone is different, hair colour, eye colour, height, extra bits of skin here and there!

TheOriginalFAB Fri 05-Aug-11 20:24:53

Bollocks. Epicanthas means having a broader nose than other children. That is all. Two out of 3 of my children had/have this and I didn't drink while pregnant.

branstonsandcheese Fri 05-Aug-11 20:26:08

I have epicanthic folds and a wide-bridged nose. I can't speak for what my mother drank during pregnancy but DS2 also has them and I know he wasn't exposed to alcohol in utero.

I know someone with FAS and he has them, but also the more characteristic flat filtrum and pronounced cheeks. I'm sometimes asked if I have Slavic heritage but that's all.

DrPolidori Fri 05-Aug-11 20:54:08

my ds has them. Interesting genetic inheritance, filippino, norwegian, british,

I would be pretty fucked off if any suggested it was due to me drinking during pregnancy.

MoominsAreScary Fri 05-Aug-11 21:51:02

Your friend sounds pretty ignorant!

catsareevil Fri 05-Aug-11 22:02:03

Your friend doesnt know what she is talking about. Epicanthal folds are (amongst other thngs) a feature of Down syndrome, does she think that this is alcohol related?

WhereYouLeftIt Fri 05-Aug-11 22:05:23

Here's a webpage about the facial characteristics of children with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, which I presume is what your work colleague is on about. It does mention epicanthal folds, but I can't say there's anything particularly noticable about the eyes in the example photographs - I always thought it was the thin upper lip and smooth philtrum that was the defining features.

Honestly, your friend sounds as if she's read one mildly scientific article in a newspaper and is trying to make herself sound clever and failing badly on the back of it in a look-at-me-I-can-pronounce-the-word-epicanthal-kind-of-way .

SiamoFottuti Fri 05-Aug-11 22:11:35

Your friend is a moron with no understanding of causality. Just because X can cause Y does not mean Y is always a result of X.

For example, I have clinodactyly of the fifth finger. This can be an associated with Downs Syndrome. I do not, however, have Downs Syndrome.

blowthewindsoutherly Fri 05-Aug-11 22:19:27

Thank you everyone.

Feel I just need to reiterate here again, she is not my friend!

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