Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RTE's "10 Things to Know About..." highlights RCSI Epilepsy and Brain Bank research

23 November 2015

Research from RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) will once again be showcased on the latest episode of RTE television series "10 Things to Know About..." In this programme, which airs tonight at 8.30pm on RTE One, two significant research projects will be highlighted, both based on studies on the human brain. RCSI researchers, Professor David Henshall, Professor Michael Farrell and Teresa Loftus will feature in the show. 

Pictured (l-r) is Suzanne Miller-Delaney, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain and Prof David Henshall

The series is presented by Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea, who are investigating some of the most exciting and ground-breaking science projects underway in Ireland. Each episode is themed on a certain scientific topic which gives ten key learnings to viewers on that research area. Tonight's episode is themed on the human brain. 

Kathriona Devereux holds a sample of tissue from RCSI's Brain Bank

Here is a brief overview of what you can expect to see tonight:

Episode 4 - "10 Things to Know About... The Brain"
The brain is the most complex organ in the human body. It produces our every thought, action, memory, feeling and experience of the world. But what happens to a person's brain when they get epilepsy? To give viewers an understanding of this, Professor David Henshall will detail his work to presenter Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain, where he has conducted the first study to link deterioration of parts of the brain with structural changes in patient DNA and gene activity.

Speaking ahead of tonight's episode, Prof Henshall said, "Our research in the epilepsy lab aims to help scientists and epilepsy patients understand what is controlling gene activity in epilepsy so we can potentially prevent seizures from happening in the first place. It was great to show our work to Aoibhinn and I'm looking forward to seeing the programme". 

Prof Michael Farrell on tonight's episode of "10 Things to Know About..."
Then RCSI's Professor Michael Farrell and Teresa Loftus (from the RCSI Department of Neurology and the RCSI Brain Bank) will discuss how the Brain Bank works, what kind of research is carried out in Beaumont Hospital, why researchers from all over Ireland need access to post-mortem brain tissue and what kind of neurological conditions we might be able to tackle as a result.

Prof Farrell, who is Associate Professor of Clinical Neurological Sciences at RCSI and Neuropathologist at Beaumont Hospital, said, "Now that we are all living longer, it is apparent that diseases affecting the brain are becoming more prevalent. The study of brain disease has been dramatically improved by the spectacular developments in brain imaging. However there are limitations to the ability of imaging in the study of brain cells. Fortunately we know that brain cells can be manipulated to give up their mysteries and secrets even after death. Brain Banks are the major source of human brain tissue for neuroscientists throughout the world. Many of the key discoveries in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease could not have been made without the generous donations of patients and their families to brain banks."
RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook' and #251 - 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.