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Brain disease: a stroke of bad luck

Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS

This item first appeared in 2008

Event review: The Leverhulme Lecture

On 6 March 2008, the Liverpool and North West Regional Group held its prestigious Leverhulme Lecture at the chemistry department of the University of Liverpool. The speaker was eminent scientist Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell FRS, who researches on the science of the human brain. The lecture, entitled ‘Brain disease: a stroke of bad luck’, provided an understanding and appreciation of the work Dame Nancy has carried out in studying the causes of a stroke and the consequences for the brain. Dame Nancy also detailed some of the methods that medical science is using in the hope of alleviating the problems caused by strokes. Dame Nancy was an impressive speaker, with a clear delivery of a complex subject. Her extensive knowledge in this field was obvious, and the lecture proved gripping and easy for all to understand. Dame Nancy’s team works at Manchester University, where she is also Deputy Vice Chancellor. The location, she explained, is fortuitous, because Manchester has one of the highest rates of stroke in the country, with over 17 per 100 000 people dying from the condition. Apparently the quieter climes of North Devon make it the safest place to reside in the UK to avoid a stroke, with as few as four people per 100 000 suffering from the illness.

After concluding her lecture, Dame Nancy fielded a lively question- and-answer session from the audience, which led to some interesting comments about how stress, although a potential contributor to the likelihood of stroke, is still very much dependent on the individual. Some people working under very high stress can thrive on the pressure, while others will have increased blood pressure and be less healthy simply because of the way they mentally handle stress.

Sandy Gray, Chair of SCI’s Board of Trustees, speaking on the future of SCI

Following on from the lecture, invited guests relocated to the magnificent Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, where they were treated to a fine, three-course meal. The event concluded with Sandy Gray, Chair of SCI’s Board of Trustees, speaking on the future of SCI (pictured).

Prestigious lectures such as this are real highlights in the Liverpool and North West Group calendar, as well as for the whole of SCI. They demonstrate the unique benefits of SCI, which delivers both a public discussion of the application of science, as well as providing a forum for networking professionals. In addition to Sandy Gray, John Beacham (SCI Honorary President) and Andrew Ladds (Chief Executive of SCI) were both in attendance. John Beacham, a previous Leverhulme speaker himself, thanked the SCI Liverpool and North West Group for all their hard work and for running such a successful and prestigious lecture.

an appreciative audience

Thanks go to the Liverpool and North West Group committee for organising an excellent event — with particular thanks to Caroline Cordery, Ian O’Neil, Alan Heaton and Marie Connor.

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