The University of Newcastle, Australia

Stroke survivors take centre stage

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

BrainWaves, the renowned University of Newcastle community choir that has helped empower stroke survivors, helped launch 2014 Stroke Awareness Week by performing at Parliament House in Sydney yesterday.

BrainWaves choir

Formed in 2012 in collaboration between Hunter New England Health's Community Stroke Team and UON researcher Bernadette Matthias as part of a study into the impact of singing on stroke recovery, the project also attracted support from the National Stroke Foundation.

With the practical phase of research now complete, BrainWaves continues as a community choir of the University of Newcastle's Conservatorium of Music.

Ms Matthias said the high profile appearance was an opportunity not only to enhance the growing audience network of the popular choir, but to raise awareness and understanding of stroke, and encourage prevention.

"The performance is such an exciting opportunity for the group. Not only does it give the Brainwaves members a chance to showcase the product of their efforts, it also allows them to present themselves to the community, invite others to join them, and let people know how powerful music can be for their recovery, socialisation and well-being after stroke," she said.

"Stroke is the second leading cause of death in the country and a major source of disability for Australians and populations worldwide. Despite the vast majority of stroke survivors living in the community, it remains a very hidden condition with major components such as depression and communication impairment largely unnoticed in our society.

"Stroke Awareness Week aims to spread the word about stroke prevalence, about supporting stroke survivors and their families and most significantly about how we can all contribute to its prevention."

The University of Newcastle's stroke research team, led by world-leading researcher, Conjoint Professor Chris Levi, has driven breakthroughs in treatments and developed protocols that have vastly improved the outcomes for stroke sufferers.

HMRI is a partnership between the University, Hunter New England Health and the community.

BrainWaves Choir enrolment enquiries can be directed to The Conservatorium on 4921 8900.

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