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While you were asleep: how sleep boosts your brain health

Sydney Ideas in Canberra
Are brain and mind conditions such as dementia a case of luck of the draw, or are our body clocks and sleep cycle integral for keeping our brains healthy? Hear from Professor Sharon Naismith, whose research explores sleep and dementia prevention.

Dementia is one of the world’s most devastating brain and mind conditions, and there is no cure. In Australia it is the second biggest cause of deathand the single greatest cause of disability among older Australians.2

Professor Sharon Naismith is leading ground-breaking research that offers new hope for dementia prevention. She is shifting the focus from known risk factors for brain impairment – depression and inactivity ­– to exploring links between dementia and sleep disruption. Her endgame is to determine whether modifying our sleep habits can slow down or even prevent dementia.

Please join us for this special event with alumni and industry professionals. The evening will include a cocktail reception with Dr Michael Spence AC, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the University of Sydney, and a keynote address from Professor Naismith.

This event was held on Tuesday 26 February at the University of Sydney.

1.     Australian Bureau of Statistics
2.     Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The speakers

Sharon Naismith (BA, Hons, MClinPsych, DPsych (Neuro) MAPS, CCN) is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Dementia Leadership Fellow.

She also holds the Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology at the University of Sydney and heads the Healthy Brain Ageing Program at Brain and Mind Centre, a one-of-its-kind early intervention research clinic for dementia.

Her work focuses on modifiable risk factors for dementia and clinical interventions for early cognitive decline including cognitive training, depression, sleep, dietary, e-health and pharmacological interventions.

In 2008, Dr Michael Spence was appointed the 25th Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney. An alumnus of the University of Sydney, Dr Spence graduated with first-class honours in English, Italian and law. His other languages include Chinese and Korean.

Spence lectured in law at the University and worked for the Australian Copyright Council prior to departing from Australia and establishing himself at the University of Oxford, where he obtained a Doctor of Philosophy and a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology. 

Spence is recognised internationally as a leader in the field of intellectual property theory. His work includes articles and books on both intellectual property law and the law of obligations, with a critical focus on suggested ethical and economic justifications of the existing regimes.

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