Western Leader : January 6th 2011
5 WESTERN LEADER, JANUARY 6, 2011 NEWS Plunket House - Portage 1a - 161 Stoddard Rd Mt Roskill 09 620 5791 Mon - Sat 9.30am to 1.30pm Plunket House - Waitakere 8a Woodford Ave Henderson 09 837 1871 Mon-Fri9amto2pm To be eligible you must comply with all of the following: (1) Live within the Waitakere/Portage Trust Boundaries (2) Apply before baby is 4 months old (3) Produce original Birth Certificate (4) Bring Hospital Discharge papers or Well Child Book with Hospital sticker (5) Produce other documents confirming your physical address (6) Donate $30 to Plunket for administration fee. Please contact your Plunket Car Seat Rental Scheme Area office: 2757852AA Now at 220 Universal Drive extension (Off Central Park Drive), Henderson Ph: 836 0029 ALL HOURS Morrison Funeral Directors Family owned and operated Office, Chapel & Reception lounges 79 Line Road, Glen Innes Ph: 521 3100 3360709AD 0800 88 NZCC (6922) firstname.lastname@example.org www.nzcc.ac.nz *Conditions apply Our National Certificate in Early Childhood Education (Level 3) gives you the knowledge, professional skills and practical experience to start a rewarding career in this exciting industry. If you're 16 or 17, you could be eligible for our FREE one-year Youth Guarantee programme. Call us today to find out! Waitakere Campus 3047 Great North Road New Lynn FREE NZQA REGISTERED & ACCREDITED for 16 & 17 year olds! Leading research into brain disorders By VANITA PRASAD Brain doctor: Professor Alan Barber is making world-class neurological discoveries. Photo: VANITA PRASAD His name sits in the company of Dr Pita Sharples, Karen Walker and Michael Jones on the Waitakere Walkway of Fame. He may not be a household name but Alan Barber means the world to Parwati Gounder and many other patients. Professor Barber gave Mrs Gounder her life back. When the grandmother-of- six came to his attention in 2006 she was in a dire situ- ation. At the mercy of a rare neurological disorder called limbic encephalitis, she was losing a battle with her body and her mind. The disorder means anti- bodies target the brain tissue controlling emotions and basic functions. She had seizures, memory loss and irregular sodium levels which on several occasions nearly killed her. For nine months her situ- ation got worse and no doctor could diagnose her problem, until she was referred to Pro- fessor Barber. His expertise in clinical and neurological research meant he was able to diag- nose the rare disorder. He and colleague Dr Neil Anderson had written about the disorder in a medical journal years before. Thanks to Professor Bar- ber, Mrs Gounder went on to be the first person in the country diagnosed and suc- cessfully treated for limbic encephalitis with a course of medication. I'm very grateful. He is a great human being,'' says Mrs Gounder. Since I've been better I've been able to travel the world, from Fiji to Alaska -- I feel young again.'' It was a case that embodied Professor Barber's passion for turning scientific discoveries into life-changing treatment. As the first Neurological Foundation chair in clinical neurology he is responsible for bridging the gap between research and treatment. His aim is to ensure scientists remember their research is about people, not petri dishes. We needed to get the scientists out of the lab and remind them why they are doing the research in the first place -- it's for the patients. It sounds obvious but it's fairly new,'' he says. Professor Barber's leader- ship has attracted a world- class neurological research team to Auckland University. His research specialises in stroke diagnosis, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Eight thousand people a year die of a stroke in New Zealand,'' he says. At Auckland hospital he has set up a 15-bed stroke unit where he is the director. I would like to see stroke units in every major hospital in the country -- currently they're in only 50 percent.'' Professor Barber spends half his time in a clinical role at Auckland hospital and half in a research position at Auckland University. They're both really good. I love the research and teach- ing but interacting with patients is great.'' He says there's a joy of discovery'' that comes from clinical neurology. Professor Barber's research team has just received grants from the Neurological Foun- dation and the Auckland Medical Research Foun- dation. The professor was raised in Te Atatu and says his desire to be a doctor came quite late. I was always good at sci- ence but it wasn't until uni- versity that I knew.'' He is enthusiastic about making discoveries in the human brain. It's the last frontier of medical science. There's so much left to know.''
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