Characterization of the facial phenotype associated with fetal alcohol syndrome using stereo-photogrammetry and geometric morphometrics

Doctoral Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a clinical condition caused by excessive pre-natal alcohol exposure and is regarded as a leading identifiable and preventable cause of mental retardation in the Western world. The highest prevalence of FAS was reported in the wine-growing regions of South Africa but data for the rest of the country is not available. Required, therefore, are large-scale screening and surveillance programmes to be conducted in South Africa in order for the epidemiology of the disease to be understood. Efforts to this end have been stymied by the cost and labour-intensive nature of collecting the facial anthropometric data useful in FAS diagnosis. Stereo-photogrammetry provides a low cost, easy to use and non-invasive alternative to traditional facial anthropometry. The design and implementation of a landmark-based stereo-photogrammetry system to obtain 3D facial information for fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosis (FAS) is described. The system consists of three high resolution digital cameras resting on a purpose-built stand and a control frame which surrounds the subject's head during imaging. Reliability and assessments of accuracy for the stereo-photogrammetric tool are presented using 275 inter-landmark distance comparisons between the system and direct anthropometry using a doll. These showed the system to be highly reliable and precise.

Includes abstract.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 108-118).