Issue date: 17 October 2002

8 November 2002 at the Watershed Media Centre, Bristol

Researchers at UWE have joined forces with the charity the Addictions Forum to arrange a major international conference on Drinking & Pregnancy: Evidence and Responses. This will take place in Bristol on 8 November at the Watershed, Bristol.

It has long been believed that alcohol consumption by pregnant women may be damaging to the developing foetus. During the past 30 years mounting evidence has confirmed the view that heavy drinking during pregnancy is likely to be harmful. Even so, the findings of current research are not widely known and there is considerable uncertainty among parents and other carers, professionals in the health and social services, teachers and others about the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), alcohol-related birth defects and issues related to the care of babies, children and young people who have been permanently damaged by their mothers’ drinking. The November meeting will bring together authorities from Britain and Canada. They will review available evidence about the possible effects of maternal alcohol consumption during pregnancy and the problems encountered by those whose task is to identify and/or care for babies and older children with FAS and related symptoms.

Dr Moria Plant, Director, Alcohol & Health Research Trust at the Faculty of Health and Social Care at UWE said: “There has recently been a very big increase in heavy drinking amongst young women of child bearing age. This is a very serious warning about the potential increase in alcohol related brain damage. Health professionals are becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility that drinking by young women will damage developing babies. This conference brings together some of the leading experts concerned with the subject. It will be attended by over 100 delegates.”

This meeting should be of value to anybody concerned with the diagnosis or care of babies, children and young adults with alcohol-related birth defects. These include those working in the health and social services, together with education as well as the parents and guardians of such children. The speakers will include the following:

Mr John Brookes, Shaftesbury, Dorset (carer).
Dr Douglas Cameron, Consultant Psychiatrist, formerly Department of Psychiatry, University of Leicester.
Dr Chris Loock, Sunnyhill Health Centre for Children, Vancouver, Canada.
Ms Jan Lutke, FAS/E Support Network of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Sir Alexander Macara, Chairman, Alcohol Research Forum, former Chairman, Council of the British Medical Association.
Dr Andrew McBride, Consultant Psychiatrist, The Specialist Community Addictions Service, Oxford.
Dr Moira Plant, Director, Alcohol & Health Research Trust at the Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Bristol.
Dr Marsha Morgan, Consultant Physician, Royal Free Hospital, London.


Editor’s notes

The meeting will take place at the Watershed, 1 Canon's Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX.

Further details may be obtained from Dr Moira Plant (344-8784) or Professor Martin Plant (344-8852) or from the conference Secretary, Mrs Jan Green (344-8788).

Draft Programme

8:30-9:15 Registration
Session 1:
9:15-10:30 Problems & Responses Chaired by Sir Alexander Macara
9:15-10:00 Drinking during pregnancy: The evidence - Dr Moira Plant
10:00- 10:30 Detoxification of pregnant women - Dr Andrew McBride
10:30-11:00 Tea/coffee

Session 2:
11:00-12:30 Diagnosis & Discussion Chaired by Dr Douglas Cameron
11:00-11:45 Diagnosis and assessment of FAS babies - Dr Chris Loock
11:45-12:30 Panel discussion
12:30-14:00 Buffet lunch

Session 3:
14:00-15:30 Older Children with FAS Chaired by Dr Marsha Morgan
14:00-14:30 Edward: A case history - Mr John Brookes
14:30-15:15 Behavioural problems and responses - Ms Jan Lutke
15:15-15:30 Concluding remarks - Dr Moira Plant
15:30 Tea/coffee

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