Researchers help prevent Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

15 Oct 2012

The UQ Centre for Clinical Research is tackling Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) by educating the public about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

To mark International FASD Awareness Day on September 9, researchers and experts presented at a symposium on September 5, on the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD.

Significant research into FASD has been undertaken and has found prenatal exposure to alcohol can cause irreversible damage to the fetus.

"FASD describes a range of disorders caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy" said Professor Paul Colditz.

"This can include problems with behaviour, impulse control, memory, speech and language development, vision and hearing impairments, and difficulty with judgement and reasoning".

Mr Graham Perrett, Federal Member for Moreton and Chair of the House of Representatives Inquiry into FASD, spoke of the findings of this year long Inquiry, due to be released soon.

"FASD does not discriminate. The committee has heard strong evidence that FASD is not just an issue for Indigenous communities with high alcohol consumption, but rather it is occurring in all our communities, regardless of socioeconomic or ethnic background," Mr Perrett said.

In the absence of warning labels on alcoholic drinks, or adequate information available to women who are pregnant - many are not aware of the dangers of drinking while pregnant.

Dr Doug Shelton, Paediatrician and speaker at the symposium, spoke about the prevalence of FASD being 1 in 1000 live births.

"This figure, however, is likely to be largely underestimated, under reported and under diagnosed" Dr Shelton said.

Children with FASD are also significantly over-represented in the child protection and criminal justice systems.   

Media: Kate Sullivan, Marketing Communications Officer, UQ Centre for Clinical Research