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Motor Neuron Disease; Who develops it, why, and what we are doing about it?
Dr Emma Scotter
Head, Motor Neuron Disease Research Lab, Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland
As many as 150 New Zealanders are diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) each year. The rate of MND in New Zealand is among the highest in the world, but who develops the disease and why? MND can run in families but is most often diagnosed in people with no family history, who are caught totally unaware. In this talk, I will discuss the factors that increase the risk of developing MND; namely genetics and environmental agents. I will also discuss what we know about MND in New Zealand, based on findings from our national genetics study and our programme of human brain tissue research, and put this into context against international findings. Finally, I will detail how collaboration between our biomedical research team, various clinical teams, and the patient care and advocacy group MND NZ, is enabling the establishment of NZ clinical trials for MND.
Dr Scotter was the recipient of a W & B Miller Doctoral Scholarship in 2005, and a Neurological Foundation travel grant in 2007 and has served on Neurological Foundation Scientific Advisory Committees in 2019 and 2021.
This talk will be of interest to people living with MND, their families and friends, students, clinicians, and anyone who has ever wondered about neurodegeneration or the brain. Bring along your questions and your curiosity!