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Renowned neuroscientist will discuss effects of drugs on the brain for Brain Awareness Week 2015 at Roehampton

As part of Brain Awareness Week (BAW) 2015 Professor Gaetano DiChiara, a distinguished neuroscientist, will be on campus giving an open lecture about the brain’s responses to recreational drugs inspired by his extensive research.

Posted: 4 March 2015

image for news story Renowned neuroscientist will discuss effects of drugs on the brain for Brain Awareness Week 2015 at Roehampton

Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) is the theme of this year’s Brain Awareness Week at Roehampton. NPS, which are also known as legal highs or party drugs, mimic the effect of illegal drugs on the body and mind and they can carry serious health risks. The United Nations warn against the rise of NPS worldwide.

The speaker for the open lecture, Professor DiChiara, is from the University of Cagliari in Italy and is amongst the most cited researchers in Neuroscience and Pharmacology according to the Institute for Scientific Information. He will discuss the concerns about recently emerging NPS and describing how the EU-MADNESS Project, of which he is a partner, is dealing with these issues. The EU-MADNESS (EUropean-wide, Monitoring, Analysis and knowledge Dissemination on Novel/Emerging pSychoactiveS) is an EU project led by the University of Hertfordshire under Professor Fabrizio Schifano, with the aims to monitor and profile the use of NPS in Europe in order to prevent health harms and update relevant professionals.

Professor of Neuroscience Jolanta Opacka-Juffry at Roehampton said: "The issue of NPS is an important one as many new NPS are emerging in the UK and Europe, with their pharmacological properties and potential harms not known. As these drugs are freely available through the internet and shops, users often assume that they are safer than their illicit counterparts, which is mostly untrue."

Professor Opacka-Juffry leads research on legal highs at Roehampton in collaboration with Dr Colin Davidson of St George's, University of London, who will also be giving an open lecture during BAW – see more details below.

Brain Awareness Week is the global campaign co-ordinated by the DANA Foundation, to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. The Health Sciences Research Centre at Roehampton will be hosting BAW2015 on campus.

Book your place for Brain Awareness Week events at Roehampton

“Pleasure, novel psychoactives and the brain's basement: what is known and what the EU-Madness Project will hopefully clarify”
Speaker: Professor Gaetano DiChiara
Thursday 12 March, 5pm – 6pm, Whitelands College, room G036.
This is a free event open for members of the public to attend.

Professor Gaetano DiChiara will discuss the concerns about recently emerging NPS and describing how the EU-MADNESS Project, of which he is a partner, is dealing with these issues.

Book your place for Professor Gaetano DiChiara’s lecture.

“What we can learn from invertebrate brains?” - special lunch time lecture
Speaker: Dr Colin Davidson, St George's University of London (SGUL)
Tuesday 17 March, 1pm – 2pm, Whitelands College, room G036
This is a free event open for members of the public to attend.

Dr Davidson will discuss the use of invertebrate nervous system as a replacement of mammalian brain in experimental neuroscience, with examples of studies including those of legal highs.

Book your place for Dr Colin Davidson’s lecture.

Further information contact: Jolanta Opacka-Juffry

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