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The Neurological Foundation: Brain Day Dunedin

The Neurological Foundation and the University of Otago present Brain Day Dunedin, Saturday 16 March 2013

The Neurological Foundation and the Brain Health Research Centre at the University of Otago are pleased to announce the speaker line-up for Brain Day Dunedin to be held at the university’s St David Lecture Theatre Complex on Saturday 16 March. Brain Day Dunedin 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. Demonstrations will be held throughout the day of how brain waves are recorded, and a plastinated brain display will feature.

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 Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington. 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 features more indepth information about each event, including speakers, lecture information, times and venues.

Brain Day Dunedin
Saturday 16 March, 10.00am – 3.00pm
St David Lecture Theatre Complex, University of Otago
Corner of St David and Castle Streets, Dunedin

Key speakers at Brain Day Dunedin:

10.00am – 11.00am Professor Paul Smith: Tinnitus: what’s the buzz?

Professor Paul Smith is Professor of Neuropharmacology in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago.

Chronic tinnitus is a debilitating condition affecting approximately ten per cent of the population. There are very limited drug treatment options, mainly due to a lack of systematic, well-controlled preclinical drug studies and a lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms of the condition. It has been suggested that tinnitus is generated in the brain by the hyperactivity of brain cells involved in hearing. In this lecture, Professor Paul Smith will discuss his recent research investigating a potential new treatment for severe chronic tinnitus.

12.00pm – 1.00pm Dr Gwyn Lewis: The potential effects of brain stimulation for chronic pain

Dr Gwyn Lewis is a Senior Lecturer and clinical researcher based at AUT University.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a non-invasive brain stimulation technique that has been shown to reduce pain in people with chronic pain conditions. The brain processes involved in pain reduction following tDCS are currently unknown. It is important to determine the effects of tDCS to understand the mechanisms of analgesia and identify patient groups who will be most responsive to tDCS. In this lecture, Dr Gwyn Lewis will outline her new research which will examine changes in the nervous system of people with long-term arm pain who will receive brain stimulation intervention over five days. The study findings will provide more information on how brain stimulation works and the types of patients who will benefit most from this treatment. This will facilitate the clinical use of brain stimulation for the treatment of chronic pain.

2.00pm – 3.00pm Professor Warren Tate: Proteins on the brain: Alzheimer’s disease under the microscope

Pofessor Warren Tate is a molecular biologist in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Otago.

Alzheimer’s Disease is an incurable, degenerative disorder currently affecting over 45,000 New Zealanders. Most attention has focused on a peptide, amyloid-, as the possible cause due to its toxicity in brain cells. Evidence shows that the balance between this peptide and another secreted amyloid precursor protein, both originating from the same parent molecule, may be critical to the disease process. In contrast to amyloid-, this protein protects against damage to nerve cells and supports memory mechanisms. In this lecture, Professor Tate will discuss his recent research seeking to discover the underlying mechanisms of this protein’s effects in the brain and investigating its therapeutic potential in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.


11.15am: Alzheimer’s Otago: Caring for the Carer
1.15pm: Multiple Sclerosis Society Otago: 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

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


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