Toxic proteins may cause motor neurones to die in C9orf72 MND

MND Association and Alzheimer’s Research UK-funded researchers from University College London have identified that toxic proteins may cause motor neurones to die in C9orf72 MND and frontotemporal dementia. Published open access in the journal Science on Thursday 7 August, this research explains more about one of the most common forms of inherited MND.

The brain of a transgenic fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, used to study neurodegenerative diseases, with cell nuclei (stained purple) and glial cells (green). Image courtesy of Teresa Niccoli, UCL Institute of Ageing, London, UK.

Continue reading

Stem cells, Symposium planning and Science Communication Conference

As Brian said earlier this week, the news that we are now funding an international stem cell project went national and indeed international through a number of different websites and papers. Getting such cover was fantastic and we’re still receiving enquiries from people wanting to know more information!

At the same time we’ve also been dealing with the abstracts for the symposium. Over the past week we have compiled the scores that an international group of researchers and clinicians who sit on the Programme Committee have submitted to us. After reading over 350 abstracts, I’m sure they’ve got a sense of accomplishment but for a select few, their involvement doesn’t end there…

The Programme Committee give us their time for free. The fact that they read, analyse and judge each abstract in such a short time, whilst conducting their own research studies, being clinicians and generally living their lives is remarkable. We are truly thankful for their help as organising the International Symposium on ALS/MND without their help would be impossible (or at least a lot more stressful!!)

We’ll be taking you behind the scenes next week with what the Programme Committee meeting is like to attend so keep an eye out for a new blog post!

On top of this, three of the science communicators among the team, (Belinda, Kate and Kelly) also attended a Science Communication’s conference in London. In order to make sure that we continue to give you the best research information there is possible, it is important that we attend such conferences to learn more about what’s happening in the world of Science Communication – such as what are the problems, who’s coming up with the solutions and what can we learn from others etc. This event was organised by the British Science Association in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust and overall was an exciting opportunity for us to begin to develop new ideas and gauge what other charities and bodies are up to!

Topics included blogs, tweets, a number of reports on science and society from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills  and how to engage with parliamentarians. We’re still trying to digest all the information and act upon it.

If you have any ideas, suggestions or comments about the way that we produce research information at the moment – ie our blog, research information sheets and research section of our website then they are always welcomed. New ideas that you would like to see happen would also be welcomed! Please email us at research@mndassociation.org as we’d love to hear from you. Or add a comment on the blog – please note that you do not have to give your email address to comment if you don’t want to but we’d appreciate it if you leave your name.