Smartstep – balance and brain training

RESEARCH STUDY

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

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 Step Mat (Figure 1)                            Smartstep Touch 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.

If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact the smartstep team by telephone: (02)9399 1127 or email: smartstep@neura.edu.au

Smartstep Computer Games

Space Invaders and Tetris computer games (Figure 3)

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

'I've got the best job for you dad. Your shaky arm will be perfect for it!'

Children… honest and insightful. Their innocence warms the heart. But what words do you use to explain to a child that daddy has an incurable brain disease? What words tell them that in time he may not be able to play football in the park, let alone feed himself? What words help them understand that in the later stages, dementia may also strike? Aged just 36, this was the reality that faced Steve Hartley. Parkinson's disease didn't care he was a fit, healthy, a young dad and devoted husband. It also didn't seem to care his family had no history of it. The key to defeating Parkinson's disease is early intervention, and thanks to a global research team, led by NeuRA, we're pleased to announce that early intervention may be possible. Your support, alongside national and international foundations Shake it Up Australia and the Michael J Fox Foundation, researchers have discovered that a special protein, found in people with a family history of the disease increases prior to Parkinson’s symptoms developing. This is an incredible step forward, because it means that drug therapies, aimed at blocking the increase in the protein, can be administered much earlier – even before symptoms strike. The next step is to understand when to give the drug therapies and which people will most benefit from it. But we need your help. A gift today will support vital research and in time help medical professionals around the world treat Parkinson’s disease sooner, with much better health outcomes. Thank you, in advance, for your support.  
APPEAL