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Fighting fetal alcohol disorders front on

What: Free Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Symposium for FASD Awareness Day
When: 10am to 1.30pm Friday 9 September 2011
Where: Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Westpac Auditorium, 300 Herston Road, Herston

The Queensland Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Research Network is working hard to raise awareness of FASD through a symposium to be held this Friday, FASD Awareness Day, at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR).

FASD is a disorder of the newborn that is linked to maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and includes conditions such as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Alcohol Related Birth Defects.

Member of the Queensland FASD Research Network, QIMR’s Professor Emma Whitelaw said there are many misunderstandings and a lack of education around FASD.

“The inaugural symposium of the Queensland FASD Research Network will raise awareness about FASD and showcase the high quality, multi-disciplinary research on this condition happening here at QIMR, The University of Queensland, and throughout Queensland,” Professor Whitelaw said.

“Some mystery still surrounds FASD. It is still hard to pinpoint the number of children affected and some children with these conditions are misdiagnosed with Asperger’s or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

“However, our symposium aims to educate people about FASD and develop ways we can prevent and treat this disorder.”

QIMR researcher and Queensland FASD Research Network member, Dr Suyinn Chong said the network aims to create a better understanding of this condition by developing better methods for the diagnosis, identifying appropriate interventions and prevention strategies, and improving treatment of those affected by the judicial system.

“These conditions can arise from prenatal alcohol exposure and can permanently impair brain function and lead to learning difficulties,” Dr Chong said.

“While there is a lot of work to do, there is still hope – we do know that when diagnosed early and correctly, children with FASD conditions can get the help they need with learning, communicating, concentrating and can look forward to a better quality of life.”

For more information on the free FASD Symposium at QIMR, please call 3362 0478 or email