QBI works with community group to raise Motor Neurone Disease awareness

31 Mar 2006

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) and the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland (MNDAQ) will conduct a public information seminar about MND on Sunday.

As part of Motor Neuron Disease awareness week, QBI Director Professor Perry Bartlett will deliver a seminar entitled Future Therapies for Treating MND and other Brain Diseases at Brisbane's Customs House on April 2, at 11am.

Motor Neuron Disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells that control the muscles degenerate and die.

Professor Bartlett said the past decade of neuroscience research had led to a radical change in our understanding of how the brain functions.

“We now know the brain is a highly plastic organ capable of making new connections and new nerve cells, even in the brain of an older person, in response to a variety of stimuli,” Professor Bartlett said.

“We now believe that it is this plasticity which underpins higher brain functions such as memory and learning.”

QBI scientists have recently made significant advances in understanding how to promote new nerve cell production, prevent nerve cell death and promote nerve cell re-connection, which may have significant impact on future therapies for diseases such as MND.

Professor Bartlett's seminar will discuss these new findings and how they may be applied to treating MND.

One of three new research institutes at The University of Queensland, the Queensland Brain Institute focuses on understanding the mechanisms controlling plasticity and brain function and is applying these understandings to begin developing new therapies for diseases which affect brain function and nerve cell loss, as occurs with Motor Neuron Disease.

In 2005, QBI scientist Dr Robyn Wallace was awarded the Ross Maclean Fellowship for further study into MND.


For more information, please contact:
QBI Communications Office
Tel: +61 7 3346 6434

Notes to the Editor
The Queensland Brain Institute was formed in 2003 as part of the Queensland Government’s Smart State Initiative, building on a long history of neuroscience at The University of Queensland. QBI is dedicated to understanding the molecular basis of brain function and applying this knowledge to the development of new therapeutics to treat brain and mental health disorders.