Biomarkers in healthy adults and healthy siblings of people with schizophrenia

RESEARCH STUDY

Would the research project be a good fit for me?

The study might be good for you if:

  • You are between the ages of 18-60 and you are a healthy adult with or without a sibling who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder
  • You DO NOT have a personal history of schizophrenia, seizures, substance abuse or dependence (within past 3 years), head injury or loss of consciousness, central nervous system infections

What would happen if I took part in the research project?

If you decide to take part you would visit Neuroscience Research Australia to complete the following:

  • Perform cognitive tests and questionnaires (within 2 hours)
  • Provide a blood sample
  • Receive a short medical examination including a visual eye, nose, and throat exam, lungs and heart (using stethoscope) exam, body temperature, blood pressure, and brief medical history
  • Receive an MRI scan (approx. 1 hr) which includes performing computer-based cognitive tests

Will I be paid to take part in the research project?

You will be reimbursed $60 for this visit and any reasonable travel, parking, or other expenses associated with the research project visit.

Who do I contact if I want more information or want to take part in the study?

If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study please contact:

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Abdominal muscle stimulation to improve bowel function in spinal cord injury

Bowel complications, resulting from impaired bowel function, are common for people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI). As a result, people with a SCI have high rates of bowel related illness, even compared with those with other neurological disorders. This includes high rates of abdominal pain, constipation, faecal incontinence and bloating. These problems lower the quality of life of people with a SCI and place a financial burden on the health system. A treatment that improves bowel function for people with a SCI should reduce illness, improve quality of life and lead to a large cost saving for health care providers. Bowel problems have traditionally been managed with manual and pharmacological interventions, such as digital rectal stimulation, enemas, and suppositories. These solutions are usually only partially effective, highlighting the need for improved interventions. The abdominal muscles are one of the major muscle groups used during defecation. Training the abdominal muscles should improve bowel function by increasing abdominal pressure. During our previous Abdominal FES research with people with a SCI, we observed that Abdominal FES appeared to lead to more consistent and effective bowel motion. However, this evidence remains anecdotal. As such, we are going to undertake a large randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of Abdominal FES to improve the bowel function of people with a SCI. This study will make use of a novel measurement system (SmartPill, Medtronic) that can be swallowed to measure whole gut and colonic transit time. We will also assess whether Abdominal FES can change constipation-related quality of life and the use of laxatives and manual procedures, as well as the frequency of defecation and the time taken. A positive outcome from this study is likely to lead to the rapid clinical translation of this technology for people living with a SCI.
PROJECT