Alzheimer's Autralia Summit

In May 2015, Alzheimer’s Australia held a two day Summit in Melbourne, the first of its kind, offering an environment for all of the Young Onset Dementia Key Workers from around Australia to network, and provided an opportunity for members of the Neuropsychiatry Team to meet interstate workers with whom they have been consulting via teleconference. In addition to strengthening the collaboration by having face-to face contact, the Neuropsychiatry clinicians were invited to present to the Key Workers. Dr Kelso launched the release of the updated Quality Dementia Care Series Five booklet: Younger Onset Dementia: A Practical Guide. This guide is a resource for families and consumers, which she was involved in developing in Sydney in 2008, and has now taken the lead role in editing in 2015.  (See link below). JoAnne Bevilacqua presented a summary of the Clinical Consultation outcomes to date. Both presentations were well received, and a “wish list” of outcomes identified has been endorsed by Alzheimer’s Australia. These include flying Neuropsychiatry outpatient clinicians interstate quarterly to provide face-to-face clinical consultations in light of the significant shortage of specialised services in the state. The first visit will be to Tasmania in October 2015.

4th Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference

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The RANZCP Section of Neuropsychiatry and the ANZAN Section of Behavioural Neurology, supported by the University of Melbourne, and in collaboration with theAustralian Consortium of Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research (AC4R) are pleased to announce the 2015 annual Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference.

The programme is below, and registration can be done through the
conference website.

Friday 6 November 2015 09.00 - 19:00
Registration open
Theme Session: Schizophrenia Dr Ramon Mocellin  — TBC Professor Christos Pantelis  — The present: Schizophrenia: State of the Art. Neuroprogression and the role of stress,  drugs and neuroinflammation
Morning Tea
Keynote Session Schizophrenia: The Future Professor John McGrath: Expectations for the future of schizophrenia research - from the prosaic to the grandiose
Theme Session: Nucleotide repeats and Lewy bodies Dr Samantha Loi – Huntingtons disease - the past Professor Elsdon Storey – Molecular biology of repeat disorders Dr Rosie Watson - Dementia with Lewy Bodies
Afternoon Tea 
Theme session: Epilepsy
Professor Harry McConnell – The past:
Epilepsy through the Ages, a neuropsychiatric perspective Professor Terry O’Brien – The present: Treatment for Epilepsy: The Current State of Play Professor Mark Cook – The future: Title TBC
Trainee Session Trainee case presentations and judging
Conference Dinner Guest Speaker Associate Professor Steve Ellen
  Saturday 7 November 2015  08:45 – 12:00

Registration open
Neuroimaging workshop
Neuroimaging Teaching Session Dr Frank Gaillard -
Understanding MRI
Morning Tea

Neurocogitive case workshop: Associate Professor David Darby
Conference Close

Neuropsychiatry of Movement Disorders

The unit’s 2013 Neuroimaging Fellow, Dr Brad Hayhow, has published an illustrated summary of how typical movement disorders associated with chorea, dystonia and ataxia are associated with neuropsychiatric illness. This review paper has been published in the new Columbia University movement disorders journal, Tremor.
The paper can be viewed in full here, and contains high-quality illustrations about frontal-subcortical circuits whose disruption can lead to psychiatric illness. One of the images can be found below.

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Prototypical frontostriatal circuit.

Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference Programme


The full programme for the 2nd NP/BN Conference is now available. As per last year’s conference, Friday provides a rich set of clinical updates in neuropsychiatry and behavioural neurology, with a Saturday morning teaching session focussing on clinical teaching: neuroradiology and movement disorders.

Please register at the conference website:

Dr Jenny Torr - Intellectual Disability

Dr John Kwok -
The Neurogenetics of dementia

Dr Andrew Evans -
Parkinsons plus syndromes

Dr Martin Jackson - Acquired brain injury and substance abuse

Professor Colleen Loo - ECT

Professor Paul Fitzgerald -

Professor Nicola Lautenschläger -
Exercise and neurostimulation

A/ Professor Michael Fahey - Dementia in the very young

A/Professor Elsdon Storey -
Dementia plus movement disorders

Dr Jo Fielding -
Dementia plus eye movement disorders

Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Education and Training

A/Professor David Darby - Prodromal Dementia Concepts

Dr Karyn Boundy -
Current Therapeutics of Alzheimers Disease

Professor Dennis Velakoulis -
Therapeutics of FTD

A/Professor Michael Woodward - Landscape of Clinical Trials in Australia and the World

Dr Karyn Boundy - How to enter the Clinical Trials Market Place, “What do you need to start up a clinical trial centre”
Friday 8 November 2013
0900 – 1630 hours
Registration open
0930 – 1130 hours
Themed Session: Clinical updates and insights
1130 – 1230 hours
Keynote Session
1230 – 1330 hours
1330 – 1530 hours
Themed Session: Neurostimulation in psychiatry and neurology
1530 – 1730 hours
Themed Session: Dementia “plus”
1730 – 1800 hours
Trainees Meeting:
1730 – 1900 hours
Conference Dinner
1900 – 2100 hours
Themed Session: Australian Consortium of Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research (AC4R)

Saturday 9 November 2013

Dr Frank Gaillard and Dr Brad Hayhow -
Understanding MRI

Understanding movement disorders
0845 – 1200 hours
Registration open
0900 – 1030 hours
Neuroimaging Teaching Session
1030 – 1115 hours
Dr Andrew Evans -
1115 – 1130 hours
Morning Tea
1130 hours
Conference Close

2nd Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference

SAVE THE DATE!! 2nd Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference

On November 8th and 9th 2013, the 2nd Neuropsychiatry and Behavioural Neurology Conference will be held in Melbourne, following on from the success of the inaugural conference in 2012.

A joint initiative between the Section of Neuropsychiatry from the RANZCP and the ANZAN Section of Behavioural Neurology, the conference will present a broad selection of topics relevant to psychiatrists and neurologists alike.

Watch this space for first formal conference announcements!

Basal Ganglia Morphology Distinguishes Dementia Subtypes

Putaminal Morphology Reveals Frontostriatal “Axis” in FTD

With collaborators from the Australian National University and the University of California (Los Angeles), we have shown that, like the hippocampus, the putamen in the striatum can be used as a possible biomarker for dementia subtype. In comparing a well-characterised group of patients with frontotemporal dementia, Huntington’s disease Alzheimer’s disease and matched healthy controls, and using sophisticated shape analysis methodology from Paul Thompson’s group at UCLA, we showed that there are distinct atrophy “signatures” that occur in the putamen, a key grey matter structure in the basal ganglia. These signatures may be useful in aiding diagnosis, and for better understanding of some of the cognitive and behavioural disturbances that occur in these degenerative disorders.

The research also shows that, compared to a more typical basal ganglia disorder and a cortical disorder, frontotemporal dementia shares characteristics of both, adding to our previous work proposing a frontostriatal axis for many of the features of this illness.

The paper can be found

Looi et al. Differential putaminal morphology in Huntington’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Aust NZ J Psychiatry 46: 1145-1158, 2012.

Subcortial Morphology as a Dementia Biomarker


In collaboration with A/Prof Jeff Looi from the Australian National University, we have conducted a group of studies in various neurodegenerative disorders, and have shown that differing types of illness have relatively unique “shape signatures” that characterise their underlying pathology. These signatures may prove to be unique biomarkers for illness stage, progression over time and response to future illness-modifying therapies.

The two publications characterising these morphological changes in dementia can be found
here and here.

Looi et al. Striatal morphology as a biomarker in neurodegenerative disease.
Mol Psychiatry 2012 May 15. doi: 10.1038/mp.2012.54.

Looi et al.
Frontotemporal dementia as a frontostriatal disorder: neostriatal morphology as a biomarker and structural basis for an endophenotype. Aust NZ J Psychiatry 46: 422-434, 2012.

Brain Shape Analysis May Differentiate Alzheimer's from FTD


A/Prof Mark Walterfang and Dr Dennis Velakoulis, with colleagues from ANU and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, have shown how analysis of the shape of the hippocampus, one of the key brain regions involved in memory, can differentiate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) from another key type of dementia, fronto-temporal dementia (FTD).

Dr Walterfang undertook computerised shape analysis techniques on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to demonstrate that the head of the hippocampus is preferentially affected in FTD, whereas it is relatively spared in AD, which tends to affect the rest of the hippocampal structure.

The paper can be found

Lindberg et al. Hippocampal shape analysis in Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia subtypes. J Alzheimers Dis 30: 355-365, 2012.

AAV Professional Development Seminar

Dr Wendy Kelso will be presenting at an Alzheimer’s Australia (Victoria) professional development seminar on 23rd of November 2011, on Cognitive Assessment in Dementia. These seminars train staff from AAV in various aspects of dementia care, to facilitate their delivery of service to dementia patients and their families in the community.