Our Community: public forums about our research

Brain Research New Zealand - Rangahau Roro Aotearoa is a Centre for Research Excellence that showcases the expertise and skills of hundreds of neuroscientists.

Our goal is to generate world-class brain research outcomes and unlock the secrets of the ageing brain in New Zealand. 

By pioneering new knowledge and understanding of neurodegenerative disorders of the ageing brain, we can translate this into new treatments, therapies and interventions to minimise age-related brain disorders.

For community groups, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) offers community forums and public talks, which provide: 

  1. The latest information about research into Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
  2. Opportunities to ask questions and provide feedback to some of New Zealand's best neuroscientists and clinicians regarding your experience as a carer, patient or family member.
  3. Opportunities to extend your support network. 
  4. Opportunities to participate in leading NZ research into novel interventions, preventative measures and treatments for ageing related neurological disorders and diseases.

To arrange a speaker for your next community event, contact us marcomms@brnz.ac.nz

BRNZ_taranaki4
The 2016 Alzheimer's Memory Walk along the picturesque Taranaki shoreline attracted hundreds of people

Each year, Brain Research New Zealand – Rangahau Roro Aotearoa embarks upon a series of public forums and community events in order to visibly and whole-heartedly support and promote global disease awareness weeks and months.

May marks Huntington’s Awareness Month, September is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and the first week of November is Parkinson’s Awareness Week. Through our community forums, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) hope to foster strong and long-term partnerships with key community groups. Through our extensive knowledge sharing we hope to improve patient outcomes.

By promoting the awareness of neurodegenerative disorders of the ageing brain and by constantly updating the community about our research, we can grow stronger together.  

More than 70 teams of neuroscientists and clinicians located around the country are conducting pioneering research into Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, stroke and mild cognitive impairment.

From every angle, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) are tackling these diseases and ensuring that the entire spectrum of research is being carried out from bench to bedside. 

Alzheimer’s Manawatu Public forum: 16th Sept

Professor Louise Nicholson with Palmerston North local and All Black Nehe Milner-Scudder

Alzheimer's Manawatu visiting researcher: Professor Louise Nicholson 

"Donna, Clare and Kate are incredibly dynamic and passionate about what they do. Alzheimer’s Manawatu really has the best of the best working on behalf of the community.

"The walk was fantastic with a walk towards the library. Luckily everyone managed to get into the library before the rain really set in. Upstairs there was a display with balloons and a memory net where people could contribute a memory of a loved one.

"Downstairs at the library were local members of parliament, clinicians and doctors, professionals, families, people of all ages and All Black and local, Nehe Milner-Scudder.

"The event was truly an example of a small community coming together to be strong as one. In an old-fashioned sense, they are all really good people in Palmerston North, really kind and it brought the community closer together that day.

"My cousin who has lived in Palmerston North all her life connected with people she hadn’t before and she really enjoyed the memory walk and my talk too."  

[Professor Louise Nicholson is pictured above with Palmerston North local and All Black Nehe Milner-Scudder.] 

Professor Louise Nicholson leads the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
Professor Louise Nicholson leads the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk

Alzheimer's Manawatu Manager: Donna Headly 

"It was our pleasure having the opportunity to host Louise and to present a united front to our community. There are so many aspects of work happening in our field, presenting a team approach not only validates the work that we all do, but also gives the community reassurance of the fact that we all at some point are working together to improve the lives of people with neurological disorders.  

"Louise's presentation was so well received! – She held the audience. The interactions by attendees was enthusiastic and her presentation was well targeted.

"I hope that there will be more response publicly to the development of the clinics across the country. I hope that people come to the clinics who have early cognitive decline. We would be happy to put something into our newsletter on a regular basis if needed.

"Louise, please drop in if you are down this way again, or let us know when are coming, we may be able to do a follow up with you. PS. Keep gardening."  

Alzheimer's Northland public forum: 16th Sept

Alzheimer's Northland public forum: 16th Sept

Alzheimer's Northland visiting researchers: Dr Lakshini Mendis and Helen Murray 

"This public forum was a really good opportunity to connect with the community and to provide them with insights into the research we do. I gained from this experience as well," Dr Mendis explains. 

"I learned about the facilities for people with Alzheimer’s and how these little things can make a difference in a people’s lives. For example different coloured doors with contrasting colours in interior design can make all of the difference to people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. When I met with the clinicians, we shared some insights into the assessments that we do at the University and also what they do at the DHB which was really interesting."  

Alzheimer's Northland public forum: 16th Sept

Northern District Health Board: Bronwyn Hedgecock 

"Thank you for providing the NDHB with the opportunity to listen to Lakshini and Helen present at the Grand Rounds on Friday. An official certificate of thanks is attached for their records if you could be so kind and forward onto them.

"This was a most interesting presentation and a wonderful opportunity to engage with cutting-edge research.

"It’s certainly a thrill to see any image from an electron microscope! There was a turn out of 51 people and we normally average 46 per session so it was an excellent turn out."  

Alzheimer’s Northland Manager: Kevin Salmon

"As you can see the talk was really well received and we were very proud to be associated with it. Thank you so much to all those concerned with this initiative, this was a huge success. Could you also pass on my thanks to Lakshini and Helen, I hope that our paths cross again in the future." 

 

Alzheimer's Wairarapa Public Forum: 17th Sep

Alzheimer's Wairarapa - Dr Jian Guan Community talk - 11 am Sat 17 Sep

Alzheimer's Wairarapa visiting researcher: Dr Jian Guan 

"The local people really wanted to participate in this event and to come and see my talk. We had people of all ages and backgrounds. Mums with babies, older people from the retirement village and everyone in between. People were really thirsty for knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease and it was so great. This public forum was the perfect method for knowledge transfer. I would definitely do this again!” 

BRNZ member Dr Jian Guan with Mayor of Wairarapa, Lynn Patterson
BRNZ member Dr Jian Guan chats before her talk with the Mayor Lynn Patterson

Azheimer’s Wairarapa Manager: Shirley Milligan

"I’m pleased that Dr Guan enjoyed her visit and it was a pleasure to have her. The walk went well, I did lose her at one stage and then found her again across from the Farmers Market, so we were lucky to get her back! It was a shame that the weather was a bit showery. This was probably why some people left before the talk. However the people that stayed really enjoyed her talk. Dr Guan had time to go around afterwards and speak to people individually. Thanks for all of your organisation of the visit. Cheers and thanks again, Shirley". 

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Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa

Alzheimer's Taranaki Public Forum: 20th Sept

Alzheimer's Taranaki visiting researcher: Dr Phil Wood

Alzheimer's Taranaki visiting researcher: Dr Phil Wood

On the 18th of September, Director of the Dementia Prevention Research Clinics Assoc Professor Lynette Tippett took part in the Alzheimer's Taranaki Memory Walk. On the 20th of September, BRNZ member and Co-Director of the Dementia Prevention Research Clinic, Geriatrician Dr Phil Wood went to Alzheimer's Taranaki to conduct a public forum about the work of the Dementia Prevention Research Clinic network.

“I believe it went well. I talked about prevention for about 50 minutes, then for the next hour there was solid questions on a range of topics. Nobody completely fell asleep. There was some minor repetition of questions but this could be expected if people didn’t hear the question being asked initially. I am happy to do another community talk on the same topic or a similar topic in the future should the need arise.”  

BRNZ_lynette tippett alz taranaki memory walk
National Director of the Dementia Prevention Research Clinics, Assoc Professor Lynette Tippett takes to the megaphone to talk about why dementia education is vital

Alzheimer's Taranaki Manager: Ana Parks 

"Now that the dust has settled here I’m writing to thank you, and Brain Research New Zealand for all your assistance with arranging Dr Wood’s visit to New Plymouth last week.

"I really enjoyed meeting Phil and his talk on risk minimisation was excellent and very well received by a crowd of around 150 people. I know too that his visit to the Mental Health for Older People team at Base Hospital was also very useful and appreciated. It was wonderful for us to be able to host such a knowledgeable (and entertaining) speaker.

"And also, thank you for supporting Lynette Tippett in leading our Memory Walk. She too was a lovely person and, while her visit was fleeting, those who got to speak with her were very impressed with her knowledge and enthusiasm. Our Memory Walk, with over 200 people, was, I’m told, the largest in the country (unfortunately all the others were plagued with heavy rain).

"I would be very keen on inviting the young Maori researcher from Taranaki that you mentioned for our walk next year – or even to come and give a public talk sometime. We are noticing a significant increase in Maori accessing our services and want to continue to encourage this." 

Read about Alzheimer's Taranaki's latest community activity, the Alz Cafe

Alzheimer’s Nelson public forum: 21st Sept

Alzheimer’s Nelson public forum: 21st Sept

Alzheimer’s Nelson visiting researcher Professor Ngaire Kerse 

Professor Ngaire Kerse, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) PI and expert in falls prevention for older people spoke at a public forum in Alzheimer’s Nelson on the 21st of September entitled “Keeping upright with memory problems.”

“Falls are the commonest cause of hospitalisations for people with dementia, and account for 26% of those hospitalisations.

“Some interesting aspects covered in the talk were the complex relationship between physical activity and falls.

“Greater habitual activity is good for everyone including people with dementia. With ageing opportunities to exercise can be limited.

“For instance housework can be seen as lifesaving for older women and housework and home maintenance activities make up a large portion of habitual activity.

“Without this opportunity, habitual activity can be very low and the risk of falls increases exponentially as activity decreases.

“I tried to sell the idea that housework can be lifesaving to my husband, and his comment was ‘well, when are you going to start!?”

“Falls prevention is tricky in people with dementia, as there are only a few trials that have shown positive results. Lower leg strengthening, balance retraining and interventions to increase response times are the focus. There is plenty of room for more work in this area.

“It was a fun day and the room was packed, and there was lively discussion afterwards.”

Professor Ngaire Kerse, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) PI
Professor Ngaire Kerse, Brain Research New Zealand (BRNZ) Principal investigator and Head of the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland

Alzheimer's Napier public forum: 27th Sept

BRNZ_alz nelson 2016

Alzheimer's Napier visiting researcher Dr Andrea Kwakowsky

Dr Kwakowsky presented her Alzheimer's research to a 'Share and Care' group at Alzheimer's Napier. This was a private gathering of people affected by Alzheimer's in a variety of ways including carers and families. Therefore photography was not permitted. 

"The group was highly interested and engaged with my research. There was a real mix of people who attended the talk, like patients, carers and hospital staff.

"Everyone was incredibly nice and there was a long discussion after the session. They were really happy to host more speakers. They have asked for a printed copy of the newsletter. The audience asked interesting and relevant questions which were more pertinent to the topic than questions I’ve got at conferences in the past. I would definitely love to go out and do another talk soon." 

Alzheimer's Napier 'Share and Care' group forum by Dr Andrea Kwakowsky (pictured here with organisers Tania Roebuck and Michelle Mclean)
Alzheimer's Napier 'Share and Care' group forum by Dr Andrea Kwakowsky (pictured here with organisers Tania Roebuck and Michelle Mclean)

Photos from Alzheimer's month events supported by our talks

Assoc Professor Lynette Tippett gives a rousing speech over the megaphone on her home turf in Taranaki during the Memory Walk
Assoc Professor Lynette Tippett gives a rousing speech over the megaphone on her home turf in Taranaki during the Memory Walk
Alzheimer's Northland memory walk
Alzheimer's Northland memory walk
Alzheimer's Northland memory walk
Alzheimer's Northland memory walk
Pipers leading the Alzheimer's Memory Walk in Wairarapa
Pipers leading the Alzheimer's Memory Walk in Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
The rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits at the Alzheimer's Memory Walk in Wairarapa
The rain didn't dampen anyone's spirits at the Alzheimer's Memory Walk in Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa
Dr Jian Guan presents her Alzheimer's research at Alzheimer's Wairarapa

Alzheimer's Taranaki Manager Ana Parkes at the Memory Walk in Taranaki
Alzheimer's Taranaki Manager Ana Parkes at the Memory Walk in Taranaki
All Black Nehe Milner Scudder cuddles up to local kids and pets at the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
All Black Nehe Milner-Scudder cuddles up to local kids and pets at the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
A 'memory net' for people to leave notes to loved ones during the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
A 'memory net' for people to leave notes to loved ones during the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
Professor Louise Nicholson leads the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
Professor Louise Nicholson leads the Alzheimer's Manawatu Memory Walk
Festivities at Alzheimer's Nelson during the memory walk
Festivities at Alzheimer's Nelson during the memory walk

Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016

In May 2016 Brain Research New Zealand supported International Huntington's Awareness Month by offering support and expertise in the form of Huntington's researchers. These people presented new research at the National Huntington's Disease Association 2016 conference at Waipuna Hotel in Auckland on the 14-15 May 2016.

 

Additionally we also disseminated information, research updates and resources online about our advancements into Huntington's disease research.

This was enthusiastically received by members of the international HD community and hundreds of research groups around the world, neuroscientists and people directly affected by HD now follow our research progress on social media and also via our e-newsletter. You can read the newsletter from May here and read about our Huntington's researchers on Linked In and our website.  

 

In May 2017, a planned series of talks by our Huntington's disease researchers will be held during Huntington's Awareness Month. These community forums will involve unprecedented visits to regional and remote areas of New Zealand where people impacted by Huntington's disease will finally get the benefit of meeting with a researcher. We hope that this leads to the formation of strong ongoing relationships.

To arrange a speaker for your next community event, contact us marcomms@brnz.ac.nz    

Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016
Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016

Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016
Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016

Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016
Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016

Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016
Huntington's Awareness Month - May 2016