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Neuroscience expert shares insight on Alzheimer's

31 July 2012

Prof Koo delivering his lecture on Alzheimer's disease as the first Oon Chiew Seng Distinguished Visitor

Dr Oon Chiew Seng (left) and Dr Oon Chong Hau (right) presenting a mini Hippocratic Oath to Prof Koo as a token of appreciation

At the NUS public lecture titled "Why is it so hard to develop effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease?" on 26 July, Professor Edward Koo, Professor of Neuroscience from the University of California, San Diego observed: "The decline in cognitive ability is evident with increasing age. However, this is an exception to Dr Oon Chiew Seng, Class of 1948, who is still remarkably active today."

The audience applauded Prof Koo's remark on Dr Oon, who contributed to the Oon Chiew Seng Distinguished Visitor Programme that brought him here. The programme was established through a generous donation by Dr Oon, a retired gynaecologist who at the age of 95 is still actively raising awareness of dementia in Singapore. She initiated the groundwork for the first nursing home for dementia patients in 1995.

Dr Oon wished that her gift to the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (YLLSoM) can be used to bring world-renowned experts here to share their knowledge through lectures with the academic community and members of the public. Other distinguished visitors expected to come under this programme are Professor John O'Keefe, a leading cognitive neuroscientist from the University College London, and Professor Ricardo Uauy, an expert in public health nutrition from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

At the inaugural public lecture, Prof Koo spoke about the difficulty of discovering drugs for Alzheimer's disease and the recipe for effective treatment of this complex disease. The audience included NUS President Professor Tan Chorh Chuan, Dean of YLLSoM Associate Professor Yeoh Khay Guan, Dr Oon and her nephew, Dr Oon Chong Hau. Other attendees comprised students and staff from hospitals and healthcare-related organisations.

Prof Koo also delivered a scientific lecture on 25 July that explored neuroscience research.