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Brain Day Christchurch 2013 - speaker line-up announced

The Neurological Foundation and the New Zealand Brain Research Institute present Brain Day Christchurch, Saturday 23 March 2013

The Neurological Foundation and the New Zealand Brain Research Institute (formerly the Van der Veer Institute) are pleased to announce the speaker line-up for Brain Day Christchurch to be held at the Aurora Centre at Burnside High School on Saturday 23 March. Brain Day Christchurch is one of four Brain Days held across two weekends that form the programme to mark Brain Awareness Week in New Zealand in 2013. All events are free to the public.

Each of the Brain Day events will give the New Zealand public a unique opportunity to hear from some of New Zealand’s top neuroscientists and clinicians about their incredible research work in the laboratory and clinic. In between lectures, people are welcome to mix and mingle with local community support groups who will have information stands at each Brain Day, and can answer questions about the services they provide in the community.

In addition to the key speaker line-up, the Neurological Foundation is pleased to feature Alzheimer’s New Zealand and Multiple Sclerosis Society seminars at the Brain Day events in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Both community support organisations will provide informative sessions, respectively titled “Caring for the Carer” and “Living with MS”.

To fit in with regional anniversary holidays, the 2013 Brain Day schedule will stretch across two weekends. The Neurological Foundation’s dedicated Brain Awareness Week website www.brainweek.co.nz features more indepth information about each event, including speakers, lecture information, times and venues.

Brain Day Christchurch
Saturday 23 March, 10.00am – 3.00pm
Aurora Centre, Burnside High School
Corner of Greers Road and Memorial Ave, Burnside, Christchurch

Key speakers at Brain Day Christchurch:

10.00am – 11.00am Dr Jon Simcock: Brain disorders: progress and prospects

Dr Jon Simcock is a neurologist with four decades’ experience and has been the Medical Adviser to the Neurological Foundation since 1994.

There are more than 1,100 known neurological disorders. Your nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves throughout your body: together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can experience difficulty moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses or mood. In this lecture, the Neurological Foundation’s medical adviser, neurologist Dr Jon Simcock, will speak about the latest progress in the understanding of brain disorders. He will also discuss how the 21st century has introduced exciting new neurological investigation techniques, paving the way for enhanced diagnosis and treatment.

12.00pm – 1.00pm Associate Professor Bronwen Connor: Stem cells and the brain: discovery, myths and reality

Associate Professor Bronwen Connor is Head of the Neural Repair and Neurogenesis Laboratory, and Director of the NeuroDiscovery Facility at the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland.

Stem cell research is an exciting field that holds great promise for the future treatment of many diseases and injuries, including those of the brain. It is however a field that is surrounded by huge controversy, false promises and misinformation.

Associate Professor Bronwen Connor is a neuroscientist and an expert in stem cell research, and her presentation will demystify the issues on this hot topic. Dr Connor will also discuss the truth behind clinical trials and the myths that surround stem cell treatment.

In conclusion, Dr Connor will update you about the exciting and groundbreaking research that has taken place in New Zealand, including her own recent breakthrough research that has made headlines around the world.

2.00pm – 3.00pm Dr Debbie Mason: Multiple sclerosis research: a New Zealand perspective

Dr Debbie Mason is a neurologist and also works in multiple sclerosis research at the New Zealand Brain Research Institute. She is a Consultant Neurologists at the Canterbury District Health Board and a Clinical Senior Lecturer, Department of Medicine at the University of Otago, Christchurch.

Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation within the nervous system. It may lead to neurological problems including impaired vision, balance and coordination and walking difficulties. Although there are a number of treatments that may modify the disease course there is currently no cure. The disease affects about one in every 1400 New Zealanders.

In this lecture, Dr Deborah Mason will discuss MS prevalence in New Zealand, and will provide an overview of her latest study, leading the New Zealand part of the world’s first clinical trial into whether a vitamin D supplement can help prevent MS. It is believed New Zealanders have susceptibility to MS due to New Zealand’s low latitude resulting in low levels of vitamin D. A Q&A session will be held at the end of the lecture.

SEMINARS:

11.15am: Alzheimer’s Association Canterbury: Caring for the Carer
1.15pm: Multiple Sclerosis Society and Parkinson’s Society of Canterbury: Living with MS

Brain Day CityDateVenue
AucklandSaturday 16th MarchThe University of Auckland Grafton Campus, 85 Park Road, University of Auckland
DunedinSaturday 16th MarchSt David Lecture Theatre Complex, University of Otago
WellingtonSaturday 23rd MarchRutherford House, Victoria University of Wellington
ChristchurchSaturday 23rd MarchAurora Centre, Burnside High School

Brain Awareness Week is a global campaign to increase public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. Brain Awareness Week also aims to increase community awareness of the potential for improving the long-term health of the brain through lifestyle changes and risk-reduction strategies. The Dana Alliance, based in New York, founded BAW 15 years ago, and continues to administer the campaign alongside the American Society for Neuroscience. The Neurological Foundation is an official partner to the Dana Alliance.

Finding ways to prevent, treat and cure neurological disease is the primary goal of neuroscience research, and the Neurological Foundation is committed to helping achieve this by funding neurological research in New Zealand. For information about the Neurological Foundation’s work and the important research work funded, go to www.neurological.org.nz

Brain Day Auckland is generously supported by the Ted and Mollie Carr Endowment Fund proudly administered by Guardian Trust.

For further information including speaker bios please go to www.brainweek.co.nz

ENDS

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