Brain Awareness Week

The global 'Brain Awareness Week' campaign runs from 11th - 17th March 2013 and the Neurological Foundation is proud to be an official partner. This year we will continue our popular public 'Brain Day' events around New Zealand. Click here to find out more...

Visit the Brain Week 2016 Website

Brain Awareness Week

Brain Awareness Week is an international effort organised by the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives to advance public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research. This is the seventh year the Neurological Foundation of New Zealand has participated and more than 2,000 organisations in 75 countries will hold activities, exhibits and competitions such as the international Brain Bee.

Brain Days give the public a unique opportunity to enjoy a programme of presentations from leading New Zealand neuroscientists and clinicians who provide updates of their incredible work in the laboratory and clinic. In between lectures, local community support groups set up in the dedicated expo areas answer questions about services in the community and provide specific patient information. This year Alzheimer's New Zealand and MS New Zealand will provide seminars at the Brain Day events in Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, respectively "Caring for the Carer" and "Living with MS".

The Neurological Foundation is able to present this year's extensive programme thanks to the huge commitment of speakers, and various dedicated partners across the country including the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland; Victoria University of Wellington; the New Zealand Brain Research Institute, Christchurch; Wakatipu U3A; the Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, and various community support groups.

Why is brain awareness so important?

It is estimated that one in five New Zealanders will suffer from a brain disorder in their lifetime. The impact of these disorders can be devastating, not only on the sufferer but also on their families and caregivers. Yet the brain is called the last frontier of science as researchers try to understand how it works. In the Dana Alliance’s 2005 Progress Report on Brain Research, Story C. Landis, Ph.D., Director of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said:

"The neurosciences are at a critical point. We now have the ability to map gene function and activity, to generate mature neurons from stem cells, and to explore complex information processing in the brain. But we still do not know how to cure the tremor of Parkinson's disease (let alone halt its progression), or how to help a toddler with autism to interact with the world around him, or how to repair the damage of multiple sclerosis.”

Neurological disorders affect millions of people worldwide and the burden of these disorders is predicted to grow as these populations age. In just one example we face a looming global epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease.

In 2009 the worldwide prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease was 26.6 million. By 2050, the prevalence will quadruple by which time 1 in 85 persons worldwide – more than 100 million people - will be living with the disease. Modest advances in therapeutic and preventive strategies that lead to even small delays in Alzheimer’s onset and progression can significantly reduce the global burden of the disease.

But this is just one disorder. The number of people with Parkinson’s disease is predicted to double from 4.3 to 9 million people worldwide over the next 25 years. Stroke is predicted to become the second highest cause of death and is the leading cause of disability in New Zealand. Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in young children and 12 per cent of people suffer from migraine. The severe disability, high risk of brain damage, repeated hospitalisations and the need for ongoing care and rehabilitation makes these diseases expensive and feared. The only way to find the strategies for treating and curing neurological disorders is through scientific research.

What can I do?

Keep your brain healthy! Brain Awareness Week information offers advice on how to keep your brain healthy, how to foster our children’s brain’s potential and how to keep our minds sharp as we age.

Help the Neurological Foundation continue to fund the critical work done by New Zealand neuroscientists and clinicians. Your support will allow these researchers continue to work towards the alleviation of suffering, treatments and eventually cures for these devastating conditions.

Click ‘Donate’ to show your support.

What does the Neurological Foundation do?

The Foundation raises money for neurological research in New Zealand, largely through the generous contributions of individual New Zealanders. In 2011, the Foundation has given $2 million in grants. Further information about the research it has helped support can be found here.