ANCHORAGE - Health officials have released new data showing that Alaska's rate of fetal alcohol syndrome dropped by about one-third.
The findings cover children born between 1996 and 2002, and diagnosed by 2008. During that time, the rate declined steadily through the years, from about 20 per 10,000 births to 13.5. The drop was due to a decrease in rates among Alaska Natives.
Health officials credit in part a $29 million earmark for the prevention and treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome that former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens obtained in 2000.
Alaska Native health organizations have strongly emphasized screening and intervention for pregnant women and women of child-bearing age.