Neurological Foundation of New Zealand Chair of Clinical Neurology
If you would like to help Professor Barber and his team sustain the momentum of their life-changing work, please donate here:
One of the greatest challenges of neuroscience research is translating discoveries made in our universities into clinical treatments for people suffering neurological disorders.
The Neurological Foundation Chair of Clinical Neurology was established with the purpose to take neurological research and apply it in a clinical setting, making improvements in how we treat and care for those with neurological conditions. Professor Alan Barber was appointed as the inaugural Chair in 2008.
This research, which now encompasses a large team of professionals from both the ADHB and University of Auckland, includes disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and epilepsy. However his research specialty is stroke diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. In addition to improvements in stroke recovery treatments, one break-through area being performed by his stroke team and the neuroradiologists at Auckland Hospital is Endovascular Clot Retrieval (ECR), and Barber describes it as a “Game-Changer.”
The stroke Game-Changer
Every year an estimated 9000 New Zealanders suffer strokes. One quarter of stroke suffers are aged under 65. The ECR procedure was perfected at Auckland City Hospital where Professor Barber and his team treat around 200 patients per year. The time sensitive nature of the retrieval previously meant that only patients immediately surrounding Auckland could benefit. However with neurologists now implementing the procedure in Christchurch and Wellington, almost all New Zealanders are today within a helicopter’s range of potentially life-saving treatment. The positive outcome of this technique mean that one in every five people who receive the treatment will return home as healthy as they were before the stroke occurred. One in every 2.5 people will have significantly improved recoveries.
Celebrating 10 years of progress and looking to the future
For 10 years now, Professor Barber has taken the cutting edge research being done at the University of Auckland, translating that research into miraculous new clinical treatments across the road at Auckland Hospital. In 2018, the Neurological Foundation extended their funding to include a clinical fellowship that will support Professor Barber in applying his work. Even the most productive professor cannot do transformational research without someone to actually do the basic work and help achieve the research vision. The Clinical Fellow has the potential to help improve the lives of patients though research-based improvements in clinical care.
The future will see Professor Barber and his team investigating further ways they can continue to refine stroke treatment and recovery techniques, while also supporting other centres across New Zealand to implement the clot retrieval technique.
“In five years time...” says Professor Barber “each year at least 200 more people across New Zealand will be going home and living independent lives after being treated with Endovascular Clot Retrieval.”
We need your support.
Translating the latest scientific knowledge into clinical treatments for people with neurological disorders is one of the greatest challenges of brain research. It is also complex and costly. Despite these challenges, world-class brain research taking place in laboratories and hospitals here in New Zealand is saving lives, and Professor Alan Barber is helping to lead the way. Help us to continue to provide funding for this unique role, which is changing the lives of hundreds of New Zealanders each year.