Many congratulations to Christel Gudberg who has been an awarded an MRC Centenary Early Career Award to continue her research on sleep and stroke.
The Oxfordshire Dementia Awareness Campaign, hosted by Oxfordshire Dementia Empowerment Group, continues with an Open Afternoon on the 22nd May at the Civic Hall in Wantage between 1 and 4 pm.
The event will provide information on what you can do if you are worried about yourself or someone you know, what you can do to support yourself and others, and how to live a healthier and more active life with free expert advice. Age UK will deliver a series of exercise activities suitable for a range of abilities and key speaker Dr Claire Sexton, Cognitive Health in Ageing Project, University of Oxford, will talk on recent research into the benefits of exercise for people in the early stages of dementia.
For more information contact email@example.com or 0845 1204048
On Wednesday May 15 the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, a £100m collaboration between Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxford University, will be showcasing pioneering research improving healthcare across Oxfordshire’s hospitals and across the NHS.
At the annual open day, you can discover the work that is tackling major healthcare challenges including stroke, cancer, diabetes, dementia and heart disease and how that is improving healthcare for you and your family.
As part of the interactive exhibition you will be able to:
- Get a closer look at the pioneering electronic retina as featured on BBC’s One Show and C4’s Bionic Man and meet the team that made it a reality
- Talk to leading researchers about the genetics revolution
- Discover how the iPad and mobile phone are revolutionising healthcare both in the hospital and at home.
- Try your hand at neurosurgery using our jelly brain.
- Find out how you can play a part in world class research
…and much more
The free event runs from 12.30pm to 4.30pm at the West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.
Everyone is welcome and there is no need to register. We look forward to meeting you on the day.
Organisers also hope to offer walking tours of some of world-class research facilities at the John Radcliffe Hospital. To register interest in a walking tour email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sanne Kikkert speaks to the Mayor of Oxford about the latest phantom limb research.
Community Health Talks: Researching for a Healthier Body and Mind
Saturday 11 May 2013 - The Council Chamber, Henley Town Hall
Join the enthusiasts in public education from Oxford Health NHS FT, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust and Oxford University for this interactive and informal lecture. The speakers will lead you on a journey of discovery as they discuss current research into a variety of health topics including dementia, strokes, and the effects of alcohol and exercise on the brain.
Also being screened is the award winning documentary ‘Age of Champions’. An uplifting story of five competitors who sprint, leap and swim for gold at the US National Senior Olympics. If you have ever considered your sporting achievements as something in your past you should watch this film.
Doors open from 08:45am. Entrance is free, no need to book. For more information please email email@example.com
‘Alcohol Use and Abuse‘ – Dr Borys Borvin, Specialist Registrar in Forensic Psychiatry
‘Aging Gracefully‘ – Dr Lola Martos, Consultant Psychiatrist, Older Adults
‘Research in Dementia‘ – Claire Merritt, Lead Research Nurse Manager, DeNDRoN, National Institute for Health Research
‘The Age of Champions‘ – Dr Claire Sexton, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, FMRIB
‘Strokes: Research and Rehabilitation‘ – Dr David Henderson-Slater, Clinical Director Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Consultant in Neurological Disability and Rehabilitation Medicine, and Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer, University of Oxford
We’ve made good progress with our new animation over the last few weeks. The script is signed off, we’ve seen initial storyboards and we’ve even got a high profile comedienne lined up to do the voiceover.
Our script writer, Ewan Kilgour, has come up with a tale reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. Ossie ventures through our version of a rabbit hole into a parallel universe populated by mysterious characters. The curious bottle labelled ‘drink me’ and the cake labelled ‘eat me’ have been replaced with buttons marked ‘press me’ which, being Ossie, you can guess what happens. Doesn’t he know what happened to the curious cat?
The best thing about the script is that the cute protons from our first animation, ‘A quick look around the Large Hadron Collider’, are back with their helmets and wellington boots! Who wouldn’t want a cuddly proton?
Karen has, of course, produced an amazing storyboard from Ewan’s words. The process starts with us sending her the finished script and some background reading. I look through the script and identify any areas where the science gets a bit technical. I then work with our scientific leads to find good resources for her – background reading, images or videos.
We are incredibly pleased that Karen is actually a scientist by training. It means I can say to her “we would like a wave of constant amplitude but decreasing frequency” and she doesn’t look confused or scared. (For non-scientists, amplitude is the height of a wave and frequency is the distance between two waves.)
The first version of the storyboard is a set of black and white outlines for the main scenes. We review these with our Creative Team. This includes the script writer, an education specialist and someone from the Technology-Assisted Lifelong Learning project. At this stage, we’re checking for accuracy where science is represented and looking for how we can make sure the animations will be useful for schools. We also want to check that Karen has understood the story!
This brings us up to date – we’ve seen revised storyboards and are now waiting for the animatic. This is effectively a slide show to a voiceover. It lets us see how scenes will fit together and check there are no long bits of animation with no voice, and no long bits of voice with no animation. It should be landing in our inboxes tomorrow morning!
With our latest animation ‘Rogue Planet‘ now launched and the Easter break over, it’s time for me to turn my attention firmly to our next animation.
Making animations is quite a complex task, even for the people not doing the actual drawing. But it’s fascinating and draws together lots of different people and disciplines. So I thought I would share updates with you as they happen. This won’t be like a very long, drawn-out version of ’24′. For a start, it takes about 10 weeks in total, which would make the title a rather un-catchy ’1344′. Also, Kiefer Sutherland doesn’t work with us. Which is a shame.
I have a little admission to make though… we actually started the process a little while ago…
The first stage, which happened quite a few months ago, is to agree the general area we want to cover. The animations aim to represent the huge breadth of research that takes place at Oxford, so there are an awful lot of topics to choose from. We narrow down the field by thinking about several factors, but the two main ones are:
- What areas of science might the public find really interesting, but can be hard to explain?
To answer this one, we look at stories in the news, keep an eye on social media, and chat to friends and colleagues.
- What ares of science would teachers like help with?
We have a panel of 8 teachers from a range of schools, geographic areas, and disciplines, plus two members of the University’s Department of Education to guide us.
Once we’ve got our shortlist, we need to find someone willing to act as scientific lead on the project. Although several of the team have scientific backgrounds (I studied genetics to PhD level, our academic lead – Professor David Pyle – is a volcanologist, and our technical lead – Dr Chris Lintott – is an astrophysicist), we really need a specialist to help us. And not just any specialist – they need to be someone with an interest in, and ability for communicating with the public.
So for our sixth animation, we’ve chosen a general area and have managed to recruit not one, but a small team of academics to help us.
At our initial meeting, two weeks ago, we chatted generally about the research, what aspects are unique to Oxford (have you spotted all the ‘Oxford’ tags in our animations?), and what key messages they are keen to get across. This has to be balanced with what areas the teachers would like covered too, of course.
This information I summarised and sent over to our script writer, Ewan Kilgour, to read and digest. Ewan isn’t a scientist, so when I write these summaries for them I have to make sure I don’t bombard him with a lot of technical and scientific terminology!
Having given Ewan a few days to do his homework, we had our second meeting with the scientific leads, where we tried to narrow down even further what could go into the animation. At just two minutes long, we’re really limited.
So we’re currently at the stage where Ewan has lots of reading, researching and thinking to do in order to come up with a script. We’re expecting to receive it this Friday, so we’re all very excited!
I bet at least some of you are wondering where we’re sending Ossie next and what we’re going to do with him… but I’m afraid it’s top secret for now. However, I can reveal it’s an area of medical science with some physical science mixed in. That shouldn’t narrow it down too much!
We are excited to be hosting a free community screening of the award-winning documentary Age of Champions on Monday 15th April at 7.00pm at the Phoenix Picturehouse in Oxford, to promote active ageing, health and fitness in the Oxford community.
Age of Champions is the uplifting story of five competitors who sprint, leap, and swim for gold at the US National Senior Olympics. You’ll meet a 100 year-old tennis champion, 86 year-old pole vaulter, and rough-and-tumble basketball grandmothers who battle to overcome the limitations of age and discover the resilience of the human spirit.
The film premiered to a standing ovation at the prestigious Silverdocs Film Festival and has since shown at more than 500 venues around the world. The Washington Post called the film “infectiously inspiring”.
If you would like to attend this event, tickets are available either in person at the Phoenix Pictureshouse, 57 Walton Street, or you can contact us to request tickets by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01865 222780. Learn more about the film and watch the trailer at www.ageofchampions.org.
Oxford Cognitive Health in Ageing is funded by the NIHR and the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre. It brings together scientists and clinicians from the University of Oxford, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust to ensure our research can make a real impact promoting healthy ageing in the community.
What can we learn from the human brain to better understand the mechanism of disease progression? What is the relationship between vascular and neurodegenerative disease? How do these diseases affect human cognitive ability, and how could increasing physical and mental activity potentially improve cognitive health and prevent cognitive decline?
The Dementia Awareness Public Open Day, organised by the local Alzheimer’s Research UK network, will be held on Saturday 16th March 2013 at the John Radcliffe Hospital 10:00am – 1:00pm in Lecture Theatre 2, Academic Centre in the grounds of the John Radcliffe Hospital, Headington, Oxford. Admission is free for all members of the public, with tea, coffee and cake provided.
Changes in the brain following amputation have been linked to pain arising from the missing limb, called ‘phantom pain’, in a brain imaging study from the FMRIB Centre’s Plasticity Group. Arm amputees experiencing the most ‘phantom limb’ pain were found to maintain stronger representation of the missing hand in the brain. It’s hoped identification of brain responses correlated with the level of phantom pain can aid the development of treatment approaches, as well as increase understanding of how the brain reorganises and adapts to new situations. The team, lead by Professor Heidi Johansen-Berg, along with Dr David Henderson-Slater of the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, reported their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
‘Almost all people who have lost a limb have some sensation that it is still there, and it’s thought that around 80% of amputees experience some pain associated with the missing limb. For some the pain is so great it is hugely debilitating,’ says first author Dr Tamar Makin.
Lynn Ledger, a 48 year old trained therapist and advisor to charities on management training, took part in the study. She had her left arm amputated halfway between the elbow and shoulder in May 2012.
‘It’s very hard to describe the pain to others. I have a nonexistent limb, but I still sense it and feel pain. It’s like: imagine you are wearing a lady’s evening glove that stretches from the fingers up the arm past the elbow. But everywhere that glove touches you, it’s as if it’s crushing your arm.’
The team used MRI imaging to study how phantom limb pain is related to changes in the brain. MRI data for amputees was compared with individuals born with one hand through a limb deficiency and a control group of adults with two limbs. They found that the brain maintained its representation of the hand, even though the limb was no longer there. The extent to which the representation was maintained was linked to the strength and frequency of the pain the amputees felt: those feeling the greatest pain retained the strongest representation of the missing hand.
The group found that the amount of grey matter in the phantom hand area of the brain was reduced in amputees compared to those with two hands. Those experiencing stronger pain showed less structural degeneration in the missing hand area following the limb loss. However, while those with strong phantom limb pain maintained the local brain structure and function for the missing hand, there was evidence that connections to other parts of the brain were disrupted more. In particular, the representation of the missing hand was more out of synch with the area looking after the other hand on the opposite side of the brain.
Dr Makin says: ‘There seems to be reduced connections between the missing limb part of the brain and the rest of the cortex that’s involved in movement.
Our results may encourage rehabilitation approaches that aim to re-couple the representation of the phantom hand with the external sensory environment.’
If you are suffering from limb loss and would like to learn about participating in our studies, please contact email@example.com
This research was funded by the Royal Society, Marie Curie Actions, the Wellcome Trust, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, and the Medical Research Council.
WelcomeInto the Lab allows researchers from the University of Oxford to blog about their research in Maths and Science.
Recent Blog Posts
- Our Research: Congratulations!
- Upcoming Event: Oxfordshire Dementia Awareness Campaign
- Upcoming Event: NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Open Day
- Find Out More: Cognitive Health In Ageing Video
- Upcoming Event: Community Health Talks - Henley
- Script and storyboards
- Making an animation
- Upcoming Event - Age of Champions Film Screening
- Upcoming Event - Dementia Awareness Open Day
- Our Research - Amputee phantom pain linked to brain retaining picture of missing limb
- Find Out More - Remodelling the Brain: an insight into research that could aid stroke recovery
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Walking Training After Stroke
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research on Recovery after Stroke
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research Questionnaire on Xenomelia
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research on Neurological Disease
- Oxford Cognitive Health in Ageing - Thank You!
- Remodelling the Brain: an insight into research that could aid stroke recovery
- Plasticity Retreat
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research on Recovery after Stroke
- Opportunities to Volunteer - How do antidepressants affect learning and emotional processing?
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research on Sleep
- The Today Programme
- London International Youth Science Forum
- Opportunities to Volunteer - Research on Neurological Disease
- Olympian Minds
- Our Research - Learning to Juggle Changes Brain Wiring
- Brain Box Blogging
- Conference round-up
- Welcome to the Oxford centre for Human Brain Activity - OHBA
- Behind the scenes