Smartstep – balance and brain training

RESEARCH STUDY

We are seeking volunteers aged 65+ to participate in our smartstep research study.

Please register your interest here
If you have any questions, please contact the smartstep team by telephone: (02) 9399 1255 or email: smartstep@neura.edu.au

This study aims to investigate the benefits of balance training and brain training on physical functions (balance and mobility), cognitive functions, general health and accidental fall events in people aged 65+ years.

The smartstep training system has been designed to enable you to undertake training in your own home, by playing engaging and enjoyable computer games. The system connects to a TV or computer monitor. The games are played with either a step mat (Figure 1) or a touch pad (Figure 2). These games have been designed to train important balance and cognitive functions, while also being fun. You may recognise some of the games, such as Space Invaders and Tetris (Figure 3).

To participate, you must be:

• 65 years of age or older
• English-speaking
• Living in the Sydney metropolitan area
• Able to perform everyday activities independently (eg.walk household distances)
• Have no neurodegenerative condition such as Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
• Agreeable to participate for 1 year.

Smartstep Touch Pad (Figure 1)                            Smartstep Step Pad (Figure 2)

This study will involve an initial appointment at NeuRA to assess your fall risk, using measures of strength, balance, vision, reaction time, stepping, walking and cognitive function. You will be asked some questions about your general health, physical activities, medication use and falls history.

After the baseline assessments, you will be randomly assigned to one of three groups:
1. The step training group: You will receive a step mat and game system and be asked to play for 120 minutes/week for 1 year.
2. The seated training group: You will receive a touch pad and game system and be asked to play for 120 minutes/week for 1 year.
3. The control group: you will receive information regarding health and fall prevention.

Smartstep Computer Games

Space Invaders and Tetris computer games (Figure 3)

See what’s going on at NeuRA

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During three decades on Australian television, two simple words brought us to attention.

‘Hello daaaahling’. Outrageous, flamboyant, iconic – Jeanne Little captivated Australians everywhere with her unique style, cockatoo shrill voice and fashion sense. "Mum wasn't just the life of the party, she was the party.” Katie Little, Jeanne’s daughter remembers. This icon of Australian television brought a smile into Australian homes. Tragically, today Jeanne can't walk, talk or feed herself. She doesn't recognise anyone, with a random sound or laugh the only glimpse of who she truly is. Jeanne Little has Alzheimer's disease. The 1,000 Brains Study NeuRA is very excited to announce the 1,000 Brains Study, a ground-breaking research project to identify the elements in our brains that cause life-changing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other dementias. This study will focus on the key unresolved question: why do some of us develop devastating neurodegenerative diseases, while others retain good brain health? The study will compare the genomes of people who have reached old age with healthy brains against the genomes of those who have died from neurodegenerative diseases, with post mortem examination of brain tissue taking place at NeuRA’s Sydney Brain Bank. More information on the study can be found here. Will you please support dementia research and the 1,000 Brains Study and help drive the future of genetics research in Australia? https://youtu.be/q7fTZIisgAY
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