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June is Encephalitis Research Month.
It is also a month where we continue to inch towards a New Normal of life after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic – a life where social distancing continues to ease, where pubs, clubs and restaurants are open, and where travel abroad becomes more and more likely.
But for survivors of encephalitis, returning to normal after lockdowns means their New Normal will continue to mean a life of restrictions and the challenges that come with the hidden disability of an acquired brain injury, problems such as epilepsy, fatigue, memory problems and difficulties returning to school or work.
In addition drastic cuts to government funding and decimated donations to medical research charities as a result of the pandemic risk jeopardising essential research that will improve treatment and outcomes for patients affected by neurological conditions like encephalitis.
People affected by neurological conditions such as encephalitis saw the profile of their experiences raised as a result of the public and policymaker’s attention on COVID-19 and the devastation it has wreaked on those touched by the condition, and in particular those who experienced neurological complications as a result.
Dr Ava Easton, the Chief Executive of the Encephalitis Society, said: “While returning to how life was before the COVID-19 pandemic is to be very much welcomed, we also have very real concerns that the people we work with – both researchers and patients - may get left behind. Our beneficiaries don’t want a 'new normal' – they want the general public, the government and research institutions to keep at the forefront of their minds the impact of neurological conditions like encephalitis on those it affects and their families.
“The country’s main science funder, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has seen its budgets nearly halved from 245m to 125m . With such deep cuts to government research spending and our exit from Europe our position as a global science leader is under threat. Research studies will be jeopardised, researchers will move to other countries, and research networks and collaborations will be destroyed.
And with income to medical charities like ours decimated because of our inability to raise funds over the last 15 months due to COVID19 the future looks bleak .
We mustn’t sit by and watch this happen without making a noise and that’s why this June – Encephalitis Research Month – we are asking people to support our campaign, focusing on increased awareness of these conditions and supporting better investment into research for neurological conditions like encephalitis, ensuring we maintain the UK’s world-class reputation for science, research and innovation.”
Throughout June, the Encephalitis Society will be speaking to journalists, sharing messages on social media and calling on everyone to support Encephalitis Research Month in whatever way they can.
We will be calling for:
Find out more about encephalitis research, the work that is being carried out and some of the people behind research around the world.
The Encephalitis Society works closely with health professionals around the world, providing information, collaborating on research and offering expertise wherever possible
The Grant is now closed! Winners will be announced in October. Researchers in low to middle income countries are being invited to apply for seed funding from the Encephalitis Society.
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