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J FAS Int 2003;1:e10 -
Special Webcast of 3rd FACE Research Roundtable, September 9, 2002, Vancouver, BC



In Canada, "FACE" stands for Fetal Alcohol Canadian Expertise and judging from the standing-room-only crowd at the 3rd Annual FACE Research Roundtable last year, Canadian expertise is growing. FACE is also the name of a research network, established in September 2000 as an initiative of the Motherisk Program, to advance Canadian research into fetal alcohol syndrome and related disorders. The 2002 annual meeting was held in Vancouver on International FAS Day, (September 9th) and was video-taped for on-line webcast.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder (ARND) are leading causes of preventable brain damage in children. FAS is the most severe alcohol related abnormality, and is found in the children of women who drink heavily during pregnancy. ARND is less obvious than FAS, but just as damaging. Together, FAS, ARND and related disorders and defects (referred to collectively as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) affect nearly 1% of Canada's children.

But findings reported at the FACE Research Roundtable were cause for hope. Speaking on behalf of a New Emerging Team supported by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Dr. James Brien of Queen's University described a research initiative to study the link between prenatal exposure to alcohol and oxidative stress. Their research objective is to develop innovative antioxidant treatments to curb the brain injury of FAS.

The same CIHR grant is helping researchers learn more about fatty acid ethyl esters that form when a person drinks alcohol. These FAEEs are also found in meconium (baby's first stool). "Once a fetus has been exposed to alcohol, the child's next best hope is early screening, diagnosis and care. What we find in meconium will provide an objective account of exposures that occurred before birth," said Dr. Gideon Koren, a member of the CIHR team and chairman of the FACE Research Roundtable.

Other presenters, such as Dawn Ridd of Manitoba Child Health described how committed front-line workers and mentors in that province are working to change the lives of women with addiction problems, and so help avoid the birth of children affected by alcohol and drug use. A holistic approach to case management, Manitoba's STOP FAS program is based on the belief that though high-need women will encounter setbacks, change is possible and that every woman wants what is best for her child.

The 3rd Annual FACE Research Roundtable was attended by over 110 researchers, program providers and policy makers, from across Canada. Thanks to a grant from the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development, the day-long event can be viewed by anyone with access to a computer (Mac or PC) and Internet connection. "This government is pleased to help fund this inaugural FACE Roundtable webcast, so that health care providers, as well as women across Canada, can have on-line access to this latest FAS research and information," said Hon. Linda Reid, BC Minister of State for Early Childhood Development. Click to view the 2002 webcast of the 3rd FACE Research Roundtable.

The webcast includes:

Online video presentations
Information about the speakers and event partners
Links to related websites, articles, and downloads of all PowerPoint presentations
Discussion forums and contact information

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