ALS/MND Research and Care Community Blog

An independent one-stop-shop for all professional news and views from conferences and workshops around the world

MND Researcher’s Blog a Day 2014

June was MND Awareness Month, and this year the MND Association decided to engage with their MND research community and host a ‘blog a day’ on their MND Research blog. Two months later, I’ve finished analysing the data and I thought I’d update our ReCCoB subscribers on the ‘blog a day’ initiative and some of my personal highlights.

ReCCoB reporter, Dr Jakub Scaber, also wrote a guest blog for our 'blog a day'

ReCCoB reporter, Dr Jakub Scaber, also wrote a guest blog for our ‘blog a day’

The Aim

Unlike ReCCoB, our MND Research blog is a lay blog aimed at people living with MND and everyone who cares for them. The aim of the ‘blog a day’ project was to raise awareness of MND research during the month of June, highlighting the diverse range of research being conducted around the world and how various people and organisations work together towards a world free from MND.

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Conference report – A focus on astrocytes in MND research

Wendy Noble (King’s College London) who helped organise the Biochemical Society and British Neuroscience Association focused meeting “Astrocytes in Health and Neurodegenerative Disease”, Institute of Child Health, London, 28 – 29 April 2014, blogs about the event.

Researchers from King’s College London, the University of Manchester and the University of California at Los Angeles organized a conference to discuss recent findings about the roles of astrocytes in health and different neurodegenerative diseases, including MND. This event was sponsored by the Biochemical Society and British Neuroscience Association, and conference funds from the MND Association helped to support the meeting. Continue reading

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Astrocytes in Health and Disease

Astrocytes are star-shaped cells in the brain and spinal cord, cells that helps neurones to function properly. I attended a Biochemical Society meeting “Astrocytes in Health and Disease” held in late April at the Institute of Child Health in London. The meeting brought together some of the top world scientists in this area as well as a lot of early-career scientists and scientists who are planning to begin research with astrocytes.

I was pleased to be in good company: Janine Kirby and Fiona Menzies, both on the MND Association Biomedical Research Advisory Panel (BRAP) were there, showing that many Motor Neurone Disease researchers consider astrocytes to be relevant to the development and progression of the disease, and that better understanding the role of astrocytes may help us get closer to discovery of better medicines.

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The ‘MND Researcher’s Bake-off!’

Calling all MND PhD students, post-docs and researchers!

Are you a budding baker? The MND Association’s Research Development team ‘challenge you’ to bake a science cake during MND Awareness month in June in our MND researcher’s Bake off!

For ideas and inspiration see #sciencecakes on Twitter

So, aprons and oven gloves at the ready! If you’re up for the challenge, take part in the ‘MND researchers bake off’ by signing up here.

Director of Research Development at the Association, Dr Brian Dickie, will be judging the photo entries based on their appearance, originality and relation to MND research. The winning researcher (or research team) will receive an apron and a special ‘MND researcher’s bake off’ trophy.

Once you’ve signed up you will need to send us a photo of the finished cake by 1 July 2014! (we’ll be competing too!)

Good luck.. Let’s get baking!


Depression: asking the right questions

A new national survey about depression has just launched. The MND Association is supporting this new priority setting partnership as we would like to know what questions people living with MND, their families, friends, clinicians and healthcare professionals have about depression.depression psp Depression affects 1 in 10 adults in any year, and can have debilitating consequences. The Depression: asking the right questions partnership is looking for people living with MND, their families, friends, clinicians and healthcare professionals who have experienced depression to take part. Continue reading

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Biochemical Society & British Neuroscience Association Focused Meeting: Astrocytes in Health and Neurodegenerative Disease

Prof Siddharthan Chandran (left)

Prof Siddharthan Chandran (left)

The meeting covered multiple aspects of astrocyte biology, including sessions on Astrocyte-Neuron Interactions, Energy Metabolism and Astrocytes, Astrocyte Signalling Pathways, and individual sessions on the role of astrocytes in Motor Neurone Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Lysosomal Storage Disorders.

The Contribution of Astrocytes to Motor Neurone Disease session was opened by Siddharthan Chandran (University of Edinburgh), who emphasised how MND was now viewed as a CNS disease, rather than just a disease of the motor neurons. Continue reading

24th International Symposium on ALS/MND – Session 2B

The 24th International symposium on ALS/MND took place in Milan at the AtaHotel Quark between the 5th and 8th of December of 2013. As a medical student hoping to pursue a career in Neurology/Neurosurgery it was a great opportunity and a great honour to be able to attend this symposium and hear about the latest research on ALS/MND from the people who are the front-runners in the field. Recently, I was involved in a project looking at the Quality of Life in ALS/MND patients and as a topic of personal interest I am hoping to report on Session 2B titled Autonomy and Quality of Life which took place on Friday the 6th December. This session consisted on 5 presentations and I will give a brief summary of each presentation in this blog. Continue reading


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