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Brain and body

Dementia and stroke are two of the biggest killers in Australia

The brain and the body are often treated independently in medicine. The Brain and Body node explores the connection between body disorders like obesity and diabetes, and brain diseases like Alzheimer's.

The group aims to understand the bi-directional relationships between systemic metabolic disorders, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, and brain diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s Disease.

In particular, members of the node are exploring the brain structure and function of people with metabolic disorders, or those who are fed Western-style diets that induce metabolic disturbances.

The Brain and Body project node is examining the relationships between disorders such as obesity and type 2 diabetes and brain diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s.

Diseases of the brain are often researched independently of the brain’s connection with the body. The project node's alternative approach is to see the brain in the context of total body health or disease.

Researching the brain in the context of the body opens up many potential avenues for discoveries about their interrelationships. These include how changes in brain plasticity relates to chronic systemic diseases over time, and vice versa.

In particular, members of the node are exploring brain structure and function of people and animal models with these metabolic disorders or fed Western-style diets that induce metabolic disturbances.

After heart disease, dementia and stroke are the two biggest killers in Australia.

Both brain diseases share many of the risk factors of heart disease and diabetes, but who and how people are affected remains largely unknown.

In contrast, our knowledge of the mechanisms behind diabetes and heart disease are more advanced, providing greater treatment options.

The Brain and Body node aims to explore which of these mechanisms are applicable to major brain diseases.

External collaborators

  • Professor Lars Ittner, Medicine, University of New South Wales
  • Dr Lezanne Ooi, Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong

Project lead

Dr Greg Sutherland
Dr Greg Sutherland
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