Brain damage and disease is focus of public lecture

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

The recently discovered ability of adult brains to be able to regenerate after damage can have bad as well as good health outcomes. This will be discussed at a free public lecture at the University of Adelaide Wednesday 16 July.

Delivering the 2008 Abbie Memorial Lecture, Professor James Vickers will describe how stimulating this brain "plasticity" can lead to abnormalities in nerve cells and their connections which may lead to brain diseases such as Alzheimer's.

"Recent neuroscience has indicated that there are surprising aspects of structural malleability - or plasticity - of the brain and nerve cells that persist into adulthood and even older age," says Professor James Vickers, who is Chair of Pathology at the University of Tasmania.

"While this inherent plasticity may be a useful property to encourage if a brain becomes damaged, it is also becoming apparent that the stimulation of this response can also potentially lead to abnormalities in nerve cells and their connections. This may contribute to negative outcomes after brain injury as well as to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease."

The Abbie Memorial Lecture was established in 1980 with an endowment from Mrs Audrey Abbie in memory of her late husband Professor Andrew Arthur Abbie, Elder Professor of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Adelaide from 1945 to 1970.

The Abbie Memorial Lecture will be presented by Professor Vickers following the opening of the refurbished Abbie Museum of Anatomy, in the School of Medical Sciences.

Professor James Vickers is Deputy Head of the School of Medicine and Deputy Director, Menzies Research Institute at the University of Tasmania.

His research aims to contribute towards an understanding of how disease and injury affect the brain as well as to develop therapeutic agents that may inhibit the degeneration of nerve cells.

WHAT: Abbie Memorial Lecture: "Good and bad plasticity of the brain: implications for acquired brain injury and neurodegenerative disease"
WHERE: Florey Lecture Theatre, Medical School North, Frome Road, University of Adelaide
WHEN: 5.30pm Wednesday 16 July
COST: Free, all welcome


Contact Details

Professor Robert Vink
NRF Chair of Neurosurgical Research
Head, School of Medical Sciences
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4533

Ms Robyn Mills
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084