AProf Michael Valenzuela leads the Regenerative Neuroscience Group at the Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney. Michael's early work focused on the idea of brain reserve, how complex mental activity impacts the brain and our risk for dementia. Now his group is developing new ways to prevent and treat dementia, research that combines stem cells, animal models, brain imaging, clinical trials and epidemiological cohorts from around the world. Read more
National Mental Wealth Study Delivers Surprise
National Mental Wealth refers to the cumulative cognitive capacity and mental health status of a country – a concept under threat from demographic ageing and increasing prevalence of mental illness. In this unique trial, RNG tested whether so-called Brain Training delivered directly to employees via their work computers could help boost mental function. Against all expectations we found that our control condition – watching National Geographic videos – led to a significant improvement in ratings of wellbeing. Read more
RNG Strategic Research Program
Dogs have the most plastic genome of any animal. They have shared our environments and experiences for at least 14,000 years, and this period of co-evolution has produced dramatic changes to canine morphology, brain organization, behavioural attributes and genetic diversity. Remarkably, in their later years dogs also develop a form of dementia called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, and this is now a major research focus of RNG. Read more
Opinion: Amyloid Hypothesis for Alzheimer's Holding Research Back
The size and growing magnitude of the dementia epidemic has forced a welcome decision by health ministers to name the disorder as Australia’s latest national health priority area. Yet for researchers searching for a dementia cure, a recent large negative clinical trial based directly on the amyloid hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease underlines the idea’s growing irrelevance and even negative influence. Read AProf Valenzuela's opinion piece in The Conversation.