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Aston University Turns Red to Highlight World Encephalitis Day

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Researchers and staff at Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment (IHN) are marking World Encephalitis Day (22nd February) by lighting up the Aston University library on its campus near Birmingham city centre.

The library will be lit up in red – the official colour of the campaign – to support and raise awareness of encephalitis and all those affected by the condition. The global awareness campaign, introduced by the charity the Encephalitis Society, is based on the theme of Code Red, an emergency alert code used in hospitals.

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain. It is caused either by an infection invading the brain or through the immune system attacking the brain in error.

According to the Encephalitis Society, anyone at any age can develop the condition, with up to 6,000 cases in the UK each year and potentially hundreds of thousands worldwide. In the US, there were approximately 250,000 patients admitted to hospitals with a diagnosis of encephalitis in the last decade.

Researchers at Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment are working closely with patients affected by the disease through their child-focused research programme.

Dr Sukhvir Wright, honorary consultant neurologist at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and Wellcome Trust clinical research career development fellow at IHN said: “IHN researchers know first-hand what children and families affected by encephalitis go through on a daily basis. That’s why we are fighting to answer the questions that matter most to this community through our work.

“Our research includes, developing disease models to help try and improve treatments. We do brain imaging to identify biomarkers that might help predict outcomes and at the bedside of our patients, we contribute up-to-date practical information and support for children and their families. This work is carried out closely in partnership with the Encephalitis Society.”

As part of the awareness campaign, IHN researchers are calling upon staff and students to show their support by wearing red on Wednesday 22 February – and sharing their pictures on social media.

Please use the hashtags #Red4WED #WorldEncephalitisDay #TeamAston and remember to tag @Aston_IHN.

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