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Ep 27 | How do general anaesthetics work and what can they tell us about consciousness?

Why and how do we sleep and what is consciousness? Are all animals that sleep by definition conscious when they are awake? Associate Professor Bruno van Swinderen studies fruit flies and has recently published research which shows that flies have distinct sleep stages. General anaesthetics extinguish consciousness in humans, but how do they really work? His research shows that common mechanisms might be involved in all animals. What do sleep and general anaesthesia together tell us about...


Ep 26 | Do brain stimulation devices make you smarter?

When it comes to self-improvement, there’s no shortage of books, tips, websites and online articles, particularly when it comes to boosting memory or brain power. The search term “hack your brain” turns up more than 7 million hits on Google. In this episode, we’re talking about brain stimulation – using external devices involving magnetic fields and electricity to zap the brain. In recent years, a market of do-it-yourself devices has developed, promising products that can deliver a – quote...


Ep 24 | Sallyanne and Ita: the impacts of dementia

Sallyanne Atkinson AO, Chair of QBI’s Advisory Board, talks to Ita Buttrose AO OBE, about her experience caring for her father, who had dementia. Ita is a national ambassador for Dementia Australia (formerly Alzheimer’s Australia.


Ep 21 | Understanding, preventing and treating dementia

QBI researchers are doing all they can to understand and develop new treatments for dementia. In this episode, Dr Gerhard Leinenga explains the different types of dementia, whether it's possible to reduce the risk of getting it, and exciting QBI research that has reduced the symptoms of Alzheimer's in animal models.


Ep 20 | Stroke – a mother and daughter's story

"At 31, my mother had a stroke which happened in an instant, and whose effect will span her entire life." Zoe McDonald guest hosts this episode of A Grey Matter, interviewing her mother, Dr Lavinia Codd, who is a stroke survivor and now stroke researcher at the Queensland Brain Institute.


Ep 17 | Mia Freedman: my struggle with anxiety

"Anxiety is often something that you can't even attach to something. It's just almost an existential feeling of dread or fear." Mia Freedman is the founder and director of the Mamamia Women's Network and seems to have it all together. But here she talks openly about her personal struggle with anxiety, how she was convinced she had a non-existent cancer, and when her world came tumbling down.


Ep 15 | The fundamentals of basic science

What is basic/fundamental science? Dr Steven Zuryn explains the slow burn of basic science, how it is the building block for many of our current scientific endeavours and that it has the ability to help affect generations to come.


Ep 14 | What sea creatures can tell us about neuroscience

Most of what we know about neuroscience has been worked out from research on animals in the sea. One of those things is vision. Professor Justin Marshall talks about how important sea creatures are to our understanding of neuroscience, particularly vision. And Dr Fanny De Busserolles tells us what we can learn about vision from the creatures that inhabit the deep, dark depths of the oceans.


Ep 11 | Autism and genetics

What is autism exactly, what causes it and why are diagnoses on the rise? We talk to international autism expert Professor Elliott Sherr, from Neurology and Pediatrics at the Institute of Human Genetics, University of California, San Francisco to find out more.


Ep 9 | The most aggressive cancer in the brain

Glioblastoma is the most aggressive cancer originating in the brain, and it affects people of all ages. Dr Jens Bunt, a scientist in the Brain Disorders and Development lab at QBI, is researching to find a cure. In this episode, he explains what brain cancer is and how tumours occur. A Grey Matter is the Queensland Brain Institute's podcast about neuroscience. It features music from Incompetech, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. Presented by Donna Lu and...


Ep 8 | Schizophrenia: bridging the divide between lab and clinic

In a calendar full of awareness weeks and days, the need for a Schizophrenia Awareness Week remains paramount. Despite affecting more than 21 million people worldwide, schizophrenia is one of the most misunderstood disorders in the broader community, and one of the most puzzling for neuroscientists. QBI’s Dr James Kesby recently received a $300,000 Advance Queensland Research Fellowship to research how the disorder develops, but also to bridge the divide between the lab and the clinic....


Ep 7 | Using deep brain stimulation to treat Parkinson’s disease

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an increasingly common procedure for neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease. This week's episode of A Grey Matter features Professor Peter Silburn, Director of the Queensland Brain Institute’s Asia-Pacific Centre for Neuromodulation. Professor Silburn is a neurologist and world expert in DBS. He and neurosurgeon Associate Professor Terry Coyne have together performed more than 800 DBS procedures. Professor Silburn discusses Parkinson's...


Ep 6 | QBI neurobiologist on coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef

This week the grey matter in question is not, in fact, the brain, but the bleached corals of the Great Barrier Reef. Professor Justin Marshall leads the Sensory Neurobiology laboratory at the Queensland Brain Institute. He talks about working with Sir David Attenborough, the citizen science project Coral Watch, and the unprecedented coral bleaching that is unfolding on the Great Barrier Reef. A Grey Matter is the Queensland Brain Institute's podcast about neuroscience. It features music...


Ep 5 | Schizophrenia: non-genetic risk factors

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects more than 21 million people worldwide. While genetics plays a part, several environmental factors can predispose someone to getting the condition. This episode of A Grey Matter features Professor John McGrath, a psychiatrist and schizophrenia researcher at the Queensland Brain Institute. He talks about smoking, vitamin D, and how common it actually is to experience hallucinations and delusions. For a full transcript of the...


Ep 4 | Empathy and racial bias

The recent furore about the booing of AFL player Adam Goodes has reignited a debate about racism in both the sport and in Australia. Why do we show prejudice towards people whom we perceive to be different to us? In this episode of A Grey Matter, we discuss how your brain might respond differently when you see the pain of someone from another racial group. Presented, produced and edited by Donna Lu. A Grey Matter is the Queensland Brain Institute's podcast about neuroscience. It features...


Ep 3 | Alzheimer's disease, music, and the race towards a cure

In Australia, around 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia. Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, was one of them—her mother Carmel suffered from Alzheimer's for nearly a decade after diagnosis. Tune in to find out about the benefits of speaking two languages, and the exciting breakthrough QBI researchers have made in the race to find a cure. For information about the Hand Heart Pocket Gala Evening:...


Ep 2 | Nerve regeneration and the Australian Brain Bee

What do Christopher Reeve and a tiny transparent worm have in common? What does a Sega video game have to do with the brain? In this episode of A Grey Matter we're talking about the Australian Brain Bee, and nerve regeneration, which might provide an avenue for treating spinal cord injury. Presented, produced and edited by Donna Lu. This podcast features music from Bensound and Free Music Archive ('Superman Says' by The Split Squad), available under a Creative Commons...


Ep 1 | How I survived a stroke at 31

Would you know what to do if someone were having a stroke? What if it were you, and you were 31? That's exactly what happened to Dr Lavinia Codd, a stroke researcher. Tune in to find out why she started memorising her children's clothes, and hear about the exciting work she's doing at QBI. Presented, produced and edited by Donna Lu. This podcast features music from Incompetech and Bensound, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license. The Diving Bell and the...