Day 2: All About Stroke, Dystonia & MND

Welcome to Brain Awareness Week 2023

On this page, you will find resources about stroke, dystonia and motor neurone disease. These diseases affect many Australians – whether they acquire the disease themselves, or if it is one of their loved ones.

Thank you to the researchers who have created these videos. We hope you find them helpful, and that you learn something new about these brain diseases.

Stroke Research Update

Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability in Australia. There are treatments available, but they aren’t perfect – so researchers are working hard to improve them. Dr Daniel Beard recently spoke at the International Stroke Conference in Dallas, and in this video he discusses the latest developments in stroke research, including new treatments that could save thousands of lives.

Learn more about stroke:

  • Stroke – this article on our website provides a detailed explanation of stroke
  • Stroke fact sheet – a downloadable introductory resource about stroke (1 page pdf)
  • Recent research papers – find Australian research from the past five years

Dystonia – A Review & Update

You might have heard of ‘writer’s cramp’, but have you ever heard of ‘dystonia’? Dystonia is a rare movement disorder that causes abnormal movements or postures. There are many different types of dystonia, and unfortunately there is no cure. In this video Dr Joel Maamary gives us an overview of dystonia and discusses upcoming research, including potential new treatments.

Learn more about dystonia:

What is Motor Neurone Disease?

Since the viral ‘ice bucket challenge’ in 2014, most people know about a disease called ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). ALS is actually a type of motor neurone disease (MND), but there are many other types of MND. Dr Frederik Steyn explains what MND is, who gets it, and what researchers are doing to help people.

Learn more about MND:

About the experts

Dr Daniel Beard, University of Newcastle

Daniel is a lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy at the University of Newcastle. He completed his PhD in 2015 in the Translational Stroke Laboratory of Professor Neil Spratt. His PhD thesis investigated the mechanisms regulating collateral blood flow after stroke, and his findings led to a new hypothesis about the causes of vessel failure and neurological deterioration in certain stroke patients. Since then he has been awarded fellowships and grant funding at the University of Oxford and the Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. Daniel is continuing his work with a project investigating nanoparticle technologies that could make stroke treatment safer and more effective. He received a Brain Foundation research grant for this project, which will be completed in collaboration with Harvard University.

Researcher profile | Brain Foundation research grant

Dr Joel Maamary, St Vincent’s Public Hospital

Joel is a Neurologist, Movement Disorders Fellow and PhD Candidate at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. He has a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (Hons 1, University Medal) from the University of Notre Dame and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) (Hons 1) from the University of Sydney. He received a Brain Foundation research grant in 2022 for dystonia research. He is investigating a potential new treatment for focal hand dystonia, which currently has limited treatment options. MRI guided focused ultrasound is a minimally invasive neurosurgical treatment method which could help people with focal hand dystonia regain their upper limb strength, coordination and function.

Researcher profile | Brain Foundation research grant

Dr Frederik Steyn, University of Queensland

Frederik is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Queensland. He started his career as a Biomedical Researcher conducting studies that define hypothalamic integration of energy homeostasis, growth and reproduction. He has since developed transformative new methodologies in both biomedical sciences and neurodegenerative disease. Frederik currently oversees a research program that aims to increase our understanding of the physiological response to disease, specifically neurodegenerative diseases. He received a Brain Foundation research grant last year for research into hypothalamic function in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patients. This is a world first for ALS research and for research in general, and results will provide key insights into how best we can support people living with ALS.

Researcher profile | Brain Foundation research grant

Brain FoundationThe Brain Foundation is the largest, independent funder of brain and spinal injury research in Australia. We believe research is the pathway to recovery.