Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

April 5, 2018

The 2018 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference will be held on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 May with optional workshops on Wednesday 30 May at the QT Gold Coast.

Dr Janet Hammill, Honorary Research Fellow Coordinator, Collaboration for Alcohol Related Development Disorders Perinantal Research Group, University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research joins us at the Conference to discuss ‘Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) is a lifelong brain-based disorder that carries a transgenerational burden of addictions in tandem with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities’.

Dr Janet Hammill

Dr Janet Hammill coordinates the Collaboration for Alcohol Related Developmental Disorders (CARDD) formerly the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Research Network within the Perinatal Research Group at the University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research and is Senior Researcher at Synapse. An ethnographer, Jan weaves narratives of family history of health and life experiences into a biological framework that better illustrates the epigenetic and developmental burden placed on families.

Of particular interest is the neurobiology of stress and teratogenic exposures that have influenced negative trajectories especially for Indigenous families and their children. Those exposed to alcohol in utero represent the most vulnerable individuals in Australia and the effects are being seen transgenerationally.

While invisible to diagnosis, they are too visible in statistics that reflect high rates of parental substance addictions, compromised perinatal outcomes, poor school achievement, behavioural problems, younger sole parenting, early criminality, recidivism, disabling mental health with suicide risks and premature onset of chronic diseases.

Invariably having an FASD impacts significantly on overall access to equal life chances and pose critical and urgent challenges for remediation. Having shared ancestry with the Gomeroi people of the NSW Pilliga Scrub and of the first convicts into the area, Jan’s primary interest is to raise awareness especially among policy makers to alcohol and substance abuse harm and the pressing need for cross-disciplinary, evidence-based interventions.

For more information on the upcoming 2018 Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference please visit the conference website.




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