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Minds for Minds helping create positive outcomes

Minds for Minds autism researchers are hosting a public forum to provide professionals and caregivers with the opportunity to hear from and ask questions of those involved in the advances in autism research.

Five years ago, Minds for Minds launched a research programme using genetic sequencing to help understand the condition that is autism.

The forum will be held at the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences on Monday 25 November and is supported by the Centre for Brain Research and Autism New Zealand.

Since starting the research the Minds for Minds team have been able to isolate and screen the top 100 high confidence genes that contribute to autism and develop a methodology to deliver a far more accurate diagnosis to families than is currently available.

“Researchers are often perceived as not communicating their research well with the public,” says Dr Jessie Jacobsen, a lead researcher on the team. “This forum is a practical way we can keep in touch with the autism community, letting them know what developments we have made in our research.”

The evening will be chaired by neurologist Dr Rosamund Hill; joining the panel Hannah Waddington an educational psychologist at Victoria University, pediatrician and child psychiatrist Hiran Thabrew, Giselle Wong, University of Auckland PhD student, Jen Birch, author and Dane Dougan, CEO Autism NZ.

The team have been able to isolate and screen the top 100 high confidence genes that contribute to autism and develop a methodology to deliver a far more accurate diagnosis to families than is currently available.

Steven Joyce, Patron of Minds for Minds Trust has personal experience of living with autism; his 9-year-old son Tommy is non-verbal and on the autism spectrum. “I’m thankful for the research being done here in our own backyard. We have some of the best minds in the business on our doorstep.

“There is a community of conditions, autism is quite individual, and I’m delighted somebody is doing something; any new information that has the potential to help families, is useful.”

Minds for Minds research has resulted in unexpected outcomes, outside the medical realm the team have found answers for families that have helped them access education and social funding they might not otherwise been able to.

In another breakthrough, team member Dr Whitney Whitford has recently published a research paper in the international journal Scientific Reports on a new method of looking for duplications or deletions of genetic material that might underlie autism. Her method is now accessible online to the international community.

Members of the public are warmly welcome to join this event.

When –
Monday 25 November 2019
Where –
AMRF Theatre, Faculty of Medical & Health Sciences, 85 Park Rd, Grafton
– 1830 – 2000 followed by light refreshments
Public transport is recommended

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