Our response to COVID-19

We're supporting people to maintain their wellbeing and manage isolation.

Home Vestibular Rehabilitation Device

RESEARCH STUDY

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

The Balance and Vision Laboratory at Neuroscience Research Australia has developed a safe, non-invasive, rehabilitation technique that after a single 15 minute session can increase the vestibular (balance) response by up to 50%. They have shown that the technique can be administered using a portable device under a controlled setting. As part of that study they are seeking patients with well-defined, isolated, peripheral, vestibular lesions.

The study aims to determine whether exercises that aim to normalise function of your vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR), which has been damaged due to injury of the vestibular organ/nerve, leads to improvements in your ability to stabilise vision during head movements, improves your balance, makes walking easier and generally improves your quality of life. You will be asked to take home an Australian developed rehabilitation device that will allow you to perform a 15 minute, once-daily, rehabilitation exercise. You will be asked to come to the laboratory once per month to measure your progress.

Each visit to the laboratory will take about two hours and consist of 5 parts:

  1. Complete a 10 minute questionnaire.
  2. Measurement of your vestibulo-ocular reflex function.
  3. Measurement of your visual ability during head movement.
  4. Measurement of your standing balance stability.
  5. Measurement of your walking stability.

If you are interested in being a subject or would like any further information please contact:

Dr. Americo Migliaccio

Email: a.migliaccio@neura.edu.au

Tel: 02 9399 1030

FURTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION

The Balance and Vision lab at NeuRA have developed a safe, non-invasive rehabilitation technique and device that can improve the function of the vestibular (balance) system.

We’re now at a clinical trial phase to determine the effectiveness in balance, walking, general symptoms and vestibular nerve function in patients with well-defined, isolated, peripheral vestibular lesions.

These include:

  • neuritis
  • labyrinthitis
  • schwannoma (stable)
  • vestibular hypofunction

Unfortunately, you’re NOT eligible if you suffer from

  • BPPV (benign paroxsymal positional vertigo)
  • migraine with aura
  • motion sickness
  • seizures
  • very low blood pressure (systolic must be greater than 90 and diastolic greater than 60)
  • low resting heartbeat (greater than 60, unless you’re taking beta-blockers)

Additionally, you must be:

  • aged 18-80 years
  • available to come in for 4 days during week 1, and once per month for following 12 months
  • willing to do 15 minutes of home training per day
  • willing to travel to NeuRA facilities in Randwick in Sydney (near Prince of Wales Hospital)

If you satisfy the above criteria and would like to be considered for the study, please call Carlo Rinaudo on (02) 9399 1276, or email c.rinaudo@neura.edu.au

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

The RESTORE Trial: Immersive Virtual Reality Treatment for Restoring Touch Perception in People with Discomplete Paraplegia

Chief Investigators: Associate Professor Sylvia Gustin, Prof James Middleton, A/Prof Zina Trost, Prof Ashley Craig, Prof Jim Elliott, Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati, Corey Shum and James Stanley While recognition of surviving pathways in complete injuries has tremendous implications for SCI rehabilitation, currently no effective treatments exist to promote or restore touch perception among those with discomplete SCI. The proposed study will address this need by developing and testing a novel intervention that can provide touch restoration via the primary source of sensory perception: the brain.Complete spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with a complete loss of function such as mobility or sensation. In a recent discovery we revealed that 50% of people with complete SCI still have surviving somatosensory nerve fibres at the level of the spine. For those with complete SCI this is hopeful news as it means -- contrary to previous belief that communication to the brain had been severed by injury -- that the brain is still receiving messages. This new SCI type is labelled “discomplete SCI” -- a SCI person who cannot feel touch, but touch information is still forwarded from the foot to the brain. The project will use virtual reality (VR) in a way it has never been used before. We will develop the first immersive VR interface that simultaneously enhances surviving spinal somatosensory nerve fibres and touch signals in the brain in an effort to restore touch perception in people with discomplete SCI. In other words, immersive VR is being used to re-train the brain to identify the distorted signals from toe to head as sensation (touch). For example, participants will receive touch simulation in the real world (e.g., their toe) while at the same time receiving corresponding multisensory touch stimuli in the virtual world (e.g., experiencing walking up to kick a ball). This project is the first effort worldwide to restore touch sensation in 50% of individuals with complete injuries. The outcomes to be achieved from the current study will represent a cultural and scientific paradigmatic shift in terms of what can be expected from life with a spinal cord injury. In addition, the project allows potential identification of brain mechanisms that may ultimately represent direct targets for acute discomplete SCI rehabilitation, including efforts to preserve rather than restore touch perception following SCI. RESTORE consolidates the expertise of scientists, clinicians, VR developers and stakeholders from NeuRA and UNSW School of Psychology (A/Prof Sylvia Gustin, Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati), John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute and University of Sydney (Prof James Middleton, Prof Ashley Craig and Prof Jim Elliott), Virginia Commonwealth University (A/Prof Zina Trost), Immersive Experience Laboratories LLC (Director Corey Shum) and James Stanley. If you are interested in being contacted about the RESTORE trial, please email A/Prof Sylvia Gustin (s.gustin@unsw.edu.au) and include your name, phone number, address, type of SCI (e.g., complete or incomplete), level of injury (e.g., T12) and duration of SCI (e.g., 5 years).
PROJECT