2014 Neurological Foundation Philip Wrightson Postdoctoral Fellow Dr Tracy Melzer is interviewed by RNZ’s Veronika Meduna about the search for early signals of dementia in Parkinson’s disease
Who we are
The Neurological Foundation is an independent body and charitable trust that raises funds to ensure this country’s top neuroscientists can continue leading-edge research into neurological disorders.
We share a noble vision with these scientists: to progress research so that significant advances can be made in the prevention and cure of neurological disorders. One day, this will greatly reduce the level of suffering and premature death from diseases of the brain and nervous system. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and motor neurone diseases, stroke, multiple sclerosis, migraine, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury are just a few of the wide spectrum of disorders that are the focus of the research we fund. These disorders are brutal and uncompromising, and with the rapid growth of New Zealand’s ageing population, an epidemic of neurodegenerative disorders is predicted in the coming decades.
Currently, the treatment options for these disorders are extremely limited, and cures do not yet exist. However, research carried out by New Zealand’s world-leading neuroscientists, and funded by the Neurological Foundation, has provided extraordinary insight into brain disease, and illustrates the global significance of the dedicated work being carried out in this country. Further, this work provides hope for the one in five New Zealanders who will be struck with a brain disorder in their lifetime.
By 2051, almost a third of New Zealanders will be aged 65 and over. Dementia cases in particular are expected to double unless researchers can find a cause, effective treatments, or ultimately, a cure. The incidence of stroke is also rising, and is forecast to become the biggest single cause of death and disability (stroke currently ranks second after heart disease, and is the biggest cause of long-term disability in this country). Research is key to finding the causes and cures of these disorders, and in the last few years, our neuroscientists have made significant findings in this rapidly advancing field.
Without the ongoing support of individual New Zealanders, the Foundation could not commit to progressing research to the high level that it does. Ninety eight per cent of funding resource comes solely from donations and bequests. If you or someone you love is affected by a neurological disorder, you’ll understand our unquestionable commitment to fulfilling our mission statement. Join us here to receive updates of the latest advances in neurological disorder prevention and research.
If you would like to know more about the work of the Neurological Foundation, or to ask for information about neurological conditions or support groups, contact our National Office on (09) 309 7749 or email us.
Donations are capitalised and the interest is used to fund research grants. This system provides ongoing funding for career scientists in specialised areas and long-term research projects. All grant applications are internationally peer reviewed to ensure only high-quality research is funded. In 2011, thanks to the incredible commitment of our supporters, the Foundation gave $2 million in grants to researchers and students, covering a wide spectrum of neurological disorders.