Lecture Library

Understanding dementia with Angela Caughey

Angela Caughey, June 2022

There are not many people, without formal medical training, that know as much about dementia as Angela Caughey. Through years of research followed by three books on the subject, Angela has an incredible ‘all-rounded’ knowledge of this devastating disease.

Dementia is a degenerative disease that slowly results in the loss of cognitive functions to the extent that it interferes with daily life. Its prevalence means that it affects more than 70,000 Kiwis. That’s nearly 1.5% of our population. But it also affects many more: the partners of the people with dementia, their children, their siblings, their friends, and so on. During this event, author Angela Caughey will be discussing her latest book A Better Brain for Life, as well as content from her previous dementia-related books, from caring for and communicating with someone who has dementia, to preventing the condition itself.

Angela’s books are available through calicopublishing.co.nz or most major booksellers.

Motor Neuron Disease; Who develops it, why, and what we are doing about it?

Dr Emma Scotter, May 2022

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!

Understanding sleep dynamics in cognitive decline

Dr Deidre Jansson, April 2022

Sleep is critical for overall health and homeostatic processes in all mammals, however the reasons why sleep is important are incompletely understood. In the past decade, researchers have discovered that sleep promotes the clearance of CSF-derived molecules, acting to cleanse the brain of potentially toxic metabolites. More importantly, studies have shown that this cleansing process is impaired in both age and the setting of Alzheimer’s dementia. Deidre has recently returned from Seattle, Washington where she trained under world-experts in CSF dynamics and clinical dementia to investigate role of both sleep and circadian rhythms in driving disease processes. Deidre will speak about her work in Seattle and how she is applying her findings to understand the relationship between sleep disruption and cognitive decline in the setting of acute critical illness here in NZ.

Controlling our movements with an emotional brain

Dr Rebekah Blakemore, March 2022

There is growing evidence that emotions, stress, and some neurological disorders are intertwined. Dr Blakemore will talk about her current research which focusses on understanding how acute stress can alter normal motor control and exacerbate movement dysfunction in movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Understanding the impact of acute stress on movement control may inform development of emotion-movement interventions to improve motor function in people with PD.

Protecting babies' brains for the future

Associate Professor Max Berry, March 2022

Associate Professor Max Berry has dedicated her research and career to safeguarding babies’ brains. As a neonatal intensive care specialist, she asks herself daily how she can safeguard the neurodevelopmental potential and wellbeing of babies throughout New Zealand. In 2018, Dr Berry received a project grant from the Neurological Foundation to investigate a very special treatment called neurosteroid analogue therapy to prevent the many behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders concerned with premature birth. This event will focus on what has already been discovered and what Dr Berry and her team are working towards for future therapies for premature babies.

Epilepsy and the brain

Professor Lynette Sadleir, March 2022

In her clinical role as a paediatric epileptologist, Professor Sadleir diagnoses and manages children with epilepsy. In this talk, Professor Sadleir will discuss how she is helping to identify and refine emerging genetic epilepsy syndromes, and the genetic abnormalities that cause them. The identification of new epilepsy syndromes and genes leads to a deeper understanding of epilepsy with implications for diagnosis, prognosis, and development of new treatments.

Professor Sadleir has been funded by the Neurological Foundation to research epilepsy in Māori Children, and to compare the causes and comorbidities in Māori children with epilepsy to non-Māori children with epilepsy.

Developing new treatments for glioblastoma

PhD Student Elizabeth Cooper, March 2022

During this talk, Elizabeth will discuss her research into better understanding and treating the aggressive brain cancer known as glioblastoma. Elizabeth has the unique privilege of being able to use cells grown from brain tumours donated by patients through the Hugh Green Biobank. Working with medicinal chemists at the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, her work uses fluorescent dyes combined with existing targeted chemotherapies to better understand and hopefully improve their blood-brain barrier uptake and tumour specificity, two key issues that challenge the use of these drugs for brain tumours.

Building blocks of the brain: Insights into how the brain functions

Dr Karl Iremonger, March 2022

 

Our brains control everything about us - our movements, our emotions, and our memories. These complex behaviours are generated by the coordinated action of billions of individual brain cells called neurons. Each neuron functions like a tiny computer relaying information from one part of the brain to another. When these neurons fail to function properly, this results in devastating neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or depression. Because we don’t know enough about how brain cells work, when they malfunction, the clinical treatments are often poor or ineffective.

Dr Iremonger will discuss research that is shedding new light on how healthy brain cells function. This basic biomedical research is leading to a more complete understanding of how the brain works and is in turn the development of new drug targets and treatments for neurological disorders.

The role for the immune system in neurodevelopment

Dr Hannah Jones, February 2022

Dr Hannah Jones is a consultant paediatric neurologist at Starship Children’s Hospital in Auckland and a Neurological Foundation Senior Clinical Research Fellow. She has a special interest in neuroimmunology and movement disorders and recently completed her PhD at the University of Sydney investigating an association between Maternal Autoimmunity and Inflammation in Childhood Tic Disorders and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Women in Science; featuring Professor Bronwen Connor

February 2022

The Women in Science series is an opportunity to learn more about the brains behind leading research happening right now in New Zealand. Hear from researchers just starting their career and what led them to neuroscience, to seasoned scientists and clinicians working on ground-breaking research that is changing the lives of Kiwis everywhere.

These events celebrate the wonderful women who are making an incredible difference in neuroscience. They will focus on their careers, experience, passion for neuroscience and a little bit about their research

Women in Science; featuring Dr Louise Bicknell

February 2022

The Women in Science series is an opportunity to learn more about the brains behind leading research happening right now in New Zealand. Hear from researchers just starting their career and what led them to neuroscience, to seasoned scientists and clinicians working on ground-breaking research that is changing the lives of Kiwis everywhere.

These events celebrate the wonderful women who are making an incredible difference in neuroscience. They will focus on their careers, experience, passion for neuroscience and a little bit about their research

Digital Discovery: Tinnitus and the brain

Associate Professor Yiwen Zheng, October 2021

From ringing ears, to ringing brains: Tinnitus, also known as ringing in the ears, is a debilitating condition affecting the quality of life for many individuals. Tinnitus is also a risk factor in many occupational environments where effective auditory function is needed. With the increasing prevalence of tinnitus due to an increase in the elderly population as well as risky music-listening behaviours in the younger generation, future increases in tinnitus-related unemployment and tinnitus-related accidents in the workplace are likely. This could have a significant negative economic burden on both New Zealand and the healthcare system. Unfortunately, no effective treatment for tinnitus is currently available. This is mainly due to a lack of understanding of where and how this phantom sensory perception is generated and perceived. This talk will explore the involvement of different brain structures in tinnitus and the potential to identify biomarkers for tinnitus in order to develop personalised treatment.

Digital Discovery: Multiple Sclerosis and the brain

Professor Anne La Flamme, October 2021

Professor Anne La Flamme is a senior immunologist at the Malaghan Institute at Victoria University of Wellington, where she leads the multiple sclerosis (MS) research programme. Her research focusses on optimising current treatments and finding new drugs to improve the lives of people living with MS. Anne's extensive research career has spanned the University of Washington, Cornell University, and the Whitehead Biomedical Research Institute. Anne will be speaking about her research into MS, particularly around promoting remyelination with the drug nalfurafine which is commonly used to treat itching in patients with kidney failure.

Digital Discovery: Sports-related injuries to the brain

Dr Helen Murray, October 2021

Dr Helen Murray has recently been funded by a Health Education Trust fellowship for her latest research using novel tissue-labelling techniques to study the brains of former athletes donated to the Sports Brain Bank Initiative, a new part of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank. As a New Zealand representative in ice hockey, she has a keen interest in understanding the neuropathology associated with repetitive sport-related concussion. Helen will be introducing the audience to the work being conducted at the new arm of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank dedicated to sports, as well as how her work will help uncover information about sports-related injuries to the brain such as concussion.

Digital Discovery: Stroke and the Carotid Artery

Associate Professor Steven Gieseg, September 2021

Associate Professor Gieseg’s talk will look at how cardiovascular disease, which includes strokes, is the product of inflammatory processes within the artery wall. He will discuss his groups work on a key set of white blood cell generated biomarkers and progress that has been made to develop X-ray machines that can see the inflammation sites in the artery wall. The new x-ray machines, called “MARS Scanners”, use the different wavelengths of X-ray beam to distinguish different types of tissue within the body.

Sir Richard Faull - June 2021

 

Women in Science: Auckland

Brain Awareness Month 2021 with Dr Tracy Melzer

Brain Matters 2020 Whangarei with Dr Juliette Cheyne

Growing brain cells and neurological disease in a dish

Typos in our DNA: Shaping genetic conditions

Epilepsy, sex hormones and the female brain

An unwelcome visitor: how cancer cells enter the brain

Dealing with stress: Is it all in the brain?

Behind-the-scenes of New Zealand's only human brain bank

Earthquake Brain: A look at the Canterbury earthquakes and the brain

Back to the future: The promise of brain cell reprogramming

Brain Awareness Month: Dr Peter Bergin

Brain Awareness Month: Dr Melanie McConnell

Otago Brain Day: Associate Professor Liana Machado

Neurological Rehabilitation Treatments

2020 Women in Science: Invercargill

Brain Plasticity: A key to the brain's resilience against pathology?

2019 Neurological Foundation AGM

Women in Neuroscience - International Women's Day 2019

Understanding Autism and Learning Differences - Brain Awareness Month 2019

Memory and the Aging Brain - Brain Awareness Month 2019

Is it in our Genes? Neurological Gene Disease, therapies and the future

Migraines and Headaches - Brain Day 2019

The Magic and Excitement of the Human Brain - Brain Day 2019

Revolutionising Stroke Rehab - Brain Day 2019

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Neurological Foundation Human Brain Bank

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