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Augmenting neuroplasticity in the Huntington's disease brain

74 months
Approved budget:
Dr Melanie Cheung
Health issue:
Neurological (CNS)
Proposal type:
Māori Health Project
Lay summary
There is evidence to suggest Huntington’s disease (HD), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that results in deterioration of movement, personality, thinking and eventually death, is at least twice the rate in Maori than non-Maori. We have been working in partnership with a large Taranaki Maori HD whanau, who after 6 years of building a relationship, are eager for us to begin developing treatments together. Currently the most promising brain disease treatments harness neuroplasticity, the brain's powerful ability to change and adapt itself. Our research project brings together Taranaki Maori whanau, HD scientists and clinicians from the Centre for Brain Research (Auckland University) and Brain Plasticity Institute (San Francisco) to develop computer-based brain exercises that augment neuroplasticity in the brains of people with Huntington’s disease to ultimately slow the course of the disease. Our methods will include Kaupapa Maori approaches to brain imaging, neuropsychology and clinical care (neurology, psychiatry and nursing).