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Broken Brains

This show is live streamed to YouTube - register to get the link to watch - even after it has finished.
Past event - 2021
20 May 6pm to 7pm
(UK time)
Live, YouTube,
Online Your Home
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Would you say yes if your doctor prescribed you ketamine as a treatment? How does your brain process different languages? What happens inside your brain when you have a stroke? Covering topics from rapid-acting antidepressants to brain organisation, join us on this deep dive into the human mind to find out more about when things go wrong, and how mainstream medicine is being revolutionised to include drugs of abuse.

How are we wired for communication? Insights from signed languages

Jayesha Chudasama (PhD student)
@jayesha_chu
For a long time, everything we knew about language in the brain came from speech research. But not everybody communicates using speech. Sign languages are used in D/deaf communities across the world, and convey meaning using hand and body movements. Brain scans show that speech and sign activate similar brain areas, even though they are used in completely different ways. Recognising the differences in brain activity patterns for both language types will improve what we know about the brain and help develop treatments for when language goes wrong.
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A Stroke of Bad Luck

Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell (President & Vice-Chancellor and Professor of Physiology, The University of Manchester)
A stroke is when part of the brain has insufficient blood and oxygen for varying periods of time, and therefore becomes damaged. It can be caused by a clot, bleeding, brain injury or poor circulation or breathing.
Our research has found that a common body defence mechanism - inflammation - seems to cause or worsen brain damage. We have found that blocking an inflammatory molecule called interleukin-1 (IL-1) using a naturally occurring blocked that is used to treat other inflammatory conditions seems to limit the damage caused by a stroke and we are now in advanced trials in patients.
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Investigating the neuropsychological effects of ketamine and other rapid-acting antidepressants

Professor Emma Robinson (Professor of Psychopharmacology)
Conventional antidepressants take several weeks of treatment before they achieve clinical benefits but studies with the drug of abuse, ketamine, found effects after just a few hours. More surprising was the observation that the effects of a single treatment could last for more than 7 days, long after the drug had been metabolised and excreted. Ketamine is not an ideal treatment with side effects and abuse liability limiting its use however, understanding the mechanisms which underlie ketamine's effects could help in the development of new treatments.
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Your host for the night

Jill Merlini (PhD student and co-ordinator for Manchester Pint of Science)
@jillmerlini
My name is Jill and I'm in the first year of my PhD in neuroscience at the University of Manchester. My research involves studying why blood vessels become leaky during a stroke and what role the immune system plays in poor clinical outcomes. I've worked with Pint of Science for two years now, as a volunteer on the Beautiful minds team last year and currently as co-ordinator for Manchester. It's great to see the public interested in research!
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