Foetal disorder research set to be ‘best data in UK’

A research fellow from the University of Salford is currently working on what could be the ‘best data’ in the UK on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD).

Dr Alan Price, who has recently completed his PhD at the University, is working on a study to identify how prevalent FASD is. The lead investigator of the study is also the Professor of Public Health at the University Penny Cook.

FASD is the range of conditions and birth defects that result from exposure to alcohol during pregnancy. It can cause different cognitive and behavioural difficulties, in areas such as planning, attention, impulsivity, social communication, emotions and memory.

Physical features of the disorder also include delayed growth, small head circumference, hearing problems and distinctive facial features.

Research has to be carried out with genuine cases, meaning researches must go out and actively look for these defining signs, typically in primary schools.

The rates of FADS diagnosis in the UK are very low because of the lack of infrastructure, according to Alan.

Penny said:

“Awareness of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder is surprisingly low given how common it is; this conference is the ideal opportunity to learn about the topic from an array of leading experts in the field. We are also delighted to be welcoming families and individuals affected by FASD.”

The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has supported the study through funding.

Research from the study will be shared by Alan and Penny at the University of Salford Conference on FASD at MediaCityUK on Dec 12.

In attendance will be an MP, professors, psychiatrists and doctors from around the UK, who will share their own research of FASD with the study partnership.

There will also be a talk from Dr Larry Burd, director of the North Dakota Fetal Alcohol Centre, who will be making the trip from America for the conference.

Alan added:

“We’re all keen to help spread the word and improve understanding, especially among healthcare workers, teachers and social workers, who may be able to make a difference to people with FASD but are often not adequately trained to do so.”


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