NeuRA Magazine #26

News

NOVEL TREATMENT FOR INFLAMMATION INDUCED DEPRESSION

Dr Adam Walker recently joined NeuRA as a Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the UNSW School of Psychiatry to lead key projects investigating the effects of neuro inflammation on neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr Walker’s research programs will revolve around the idea that the immune system and the brain talk to each other and are both highly involved in regulating how the other functions.

He will look at how inflammation in the brain can lead to the onset of a range of psychiatric symptoms including depression and anxiety related behaviours, and poor cognition which can potentially push an individual into developing a chronic psychiatric illness.

One of his key projects will look at identifying novel treatments for inflammation induced depression. “Current treatments for depression are ineffective for some people,” says Dr Walker.

“We know that in numerous studies, anti-inflammatories are playing a role to reduce symptoms of depression in patients.

“We’re looking at ways to target the blood-brain barrier and develop a novel antidepressant.”

In a research partnership with Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert at NeuRA, Dr Walker will investigate the cause of the neuro inflammation in some people with schizophrenia.

“Clearly the brain and the immune system are talking to each other in this case, but the cause is unknown. This is an interesting opportunity to look at how the brain and the immune system communicate with each other and to hopefully help some people through our research,” says Dr Walker.

To find out more about Dr Walker’s research projects including depression and mood changes associated with cancer, please visit his research page at www.neura.edu.au/staff/dr-adam-walker

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FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

During three decades on Australian television, two simple words brought us to attention.

‘Hello daaaahling’. Outrageous, flamboyant, iconic – Jeanne Little captivated Australians everywhere with her unique style, cockatoo shrill voice and fashion sense. "Mum wasn't just the life of the party, she was the party.” Katie Little, Jeanne’s daughter remembers. This icon of Australian television brought a smile into Australian homes. Tragically, today Jeanne can't walk, talk or feed herself. She doesn't recognise anyone, with a random sound or laugh the only glimpse of who she truly is. Jeanne Little has Alzheimer's disease. The 1,000 Brains Study NeuRA is very excited to announce the 1,000 Brains Study, a ground-breaking research project to identify the elements in our brains that cause life-changing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias. This study will focus on the key unresolved question: why do some of us develop devastating neurodegenerative diseases, while others retain good brain health? The study will compare the genomes of people who have reached old age with healthy brains against the genomes of those who have died from neurodegenerative diseases, with post mortem examination of brain tissue taking place at NeuRA’s Sydney Brain Bank. More information on the study can be found here. Will you please support dementia research and the 1,000 Brains Study and help drive the future of genetics research in Australia? https://youtu.be/q7fTZIisgAY
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