Volunteer for research

As a research participant at NeuRA, you will play a critical role in helping us advance the treatment and understanding of many diseases and conditions. By donating your time, you will help us provide excellence in the care of others.

What is involved?

Once enrolled as a research participant, we may invite you to take part in one or more research studies or activities such as:

  • interviews or questionnaires
  • cognitive assessments
  • physical tests
  • physiological recordings
  • imaging studies
  • collection of saliva or blood samples

In each instance, we will provide you with full details of the proposed study and ask for your written consent prior to participation. In most studies, you may be eligible for reimbursement of any expenses you may incur (e.g. parking or travel-related costs).

If you would like to register or find out more, please complete the online registration form, contact us on 02 9399 1155 or email us at volunteers@neura.edu.au

Download our Research Participant Information Brochure (PDF)

Current opportunities

Biomarkers in healthy adults and healthy siblings of people with schizophrenia

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: Inara Bebris on 02 9399 1745 or email: I.Bebris@neura.edu.au Associate Professor Thomas Weickert on 02 9399 1730 or email: t.weickert@neura.edu.au

Digitally created image of location of lungs and brain in body

Causes of sleep apnoea in people with and without multiple sclerosis (MS)

The study aims to investigate: The causes of sleep apnoea are different in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to people without MS. You can help our research if you: Are aged over 18 Stable MS with no relapses in the past month Have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea (or suspected sleep apnoea). Have no cardiovascular disease or neurological disorders other than MS Are not pregnant or breast-feeding If you take part in the study you would: Visit NeuRA in Randwick 2 times over 2 weeks for overnight sleep studies We will apply a range of stick on recording devices Participate in awake breathing tests Be monitored overnight Some invasive nose, tongue and throat sensors will be used Please contact:  Andrea or Carolin sleeplab@neura.edu.au 9399 1886

Changing Memory, Technology and Driving Study (MemTech)

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), University of New South Wales (UNSW) and UNSW Canberra City campus are looking for your input to help identify better ways of monitoring safety as drivers age or experience changes in thinking and memory. What is the MemTech study about? This study will use in-vehicle devices such as GPS data loggers and dashboard cameras to accurately measure changes in safety during your everyday driving trips. What does participation in this study involve? If you decide to take part in this study, a researcher will arrange a visit to your home to complete a brief cognitive health questionnaire and assessment and fit your car with an in-vehicle camera with GPS. There will also be the option to complete part of or all of these tasks remotely.  The study will require participation over a period of 6 months. You may be a good match for this study if you: Are 60 years of age or older Have a current driver’s licence Are the primary driver of your car Drive at least 1 hour per week Are available for the duration of the 6-month study period and intend to continue driving during this time Expression of Interest If you are interested, or know someone who might be, please register below or contact us directly. [ninja_forms id=425] Contact If you would like more information or are interested in taking part in this study, please contact: Abirami Raveendran Phone: 0475 428 538 Email: memtech@neura.edu.au

Young girl in rear seat child restraint

Child Car Seats

Are you about to purchase a new child car seat? Join our study and get $100 cash back   What is the study? The child car seat study is a research study looking at the factors that help or hinder proper child car seat use. We are interested in the use of information sources about the correct use of child car seats. We are hoping that the study will help reduce the level of incorrect use of child seats and thereby reduce the risk of injury to children in the event of a crash. The findings from the study will help us develop the best possible set of informational materials so that all children in Australia using car seats, such as the one you are planning to purchase, can travel as safely as possible. The car seats we're studying The Britax Compaq car seat $249 Suitable 0-4 years (Convertible Car Seat, i.e. rear-facing and forward facing modes) Britax Maxi Guard PRO $439 Suitable for 6 months-8 years (Forward facing, 6 point harness) Are you eligible? Are you over 18 years old? Live within a 2-hour drive of Sydney's CBD? Do you have a current driver's license? Do you own a car? Are you a parent or other primary carer of a child who will use the new car seat? Are you interested in purchasing one of the above car seats (through our study)? If you answered yes to the above we'd love you to take part in our study. Whether or not you have experience with using child seats, we would love you to be involved. *Please note: car seats must be purchased through our research team once you have registered for the study. The car seats involved are not ISOFIX compatible. What's involved? This information sheet provides more details about what is involved. In a nutshell, if you participate, you will purchase the car seat online through a secure encrypted external commercial payment website (E-way). The prices of the two car seats match the lowest available online prices, for the respective seats, at the commencement of the study. If you find a lower price online and send us a current link to it, we will endeavour to match this price. After we have been notified of your payment, NeuRA will have the car seat delivered to you, along with some additional study materials, within 5 days. Your payment details will not be made available to NeuRA or any party other than the payment website. The study materials that you will receive with your child car seat are additional to what is normally included with the manufacturer's instructions. They are compiled by experts in child safety. There are two sets of materials, focusing on different aspects of information about car seat use. You will be randomly assigned to receive one set of materials or the other. At the conclusion of the study you will have access to the information received by the other group. After six months we'll check in with you at your place and: Check the child car seat in your car Ask you to respond to a questionnaire  That's it! After the home visit, we will notify eWAY, and they will refund $100 to the account or credit card you used to purchase the car seat. Registration for this study has now closed Thank you for your interest. Who are we? Neuroscience Research Australia is one of the largest research institutes in Australia dedicated to the study of the brain and nervous system. We have an international reputation for research excellence. Areas of research include: injury prevention mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, autism etc) ageing and neurodegeneration (e.g. dementia) sensation, movement, balance and falls brain structure and function neural injury Do you have a preferred language other than English? Click here for translated information The project is funded by the National Health & Medical Research Council. Partners in this study are: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) University of New South Wales Monash University The George Institute for Global Health

Child Development and Off-road Riding - A Pilot Study

Are you or your child aged 6, 8 or 13 years old? Would you or your child be willing to take part in a study to help us understand what skills are needed for children to ride motorcycles safely? No experience with motorcycles is needed and children will not be required to ride a motorcycle in this study. What is the Child Development & Off-road Riding – A Pilot Study about? The Child Development & Off-road Riding Study is looking at what skills are needed to ride a motorbike or dirt bike safely. This might include things like strength and balance, thinking quickly, decision making, judging distances and judging speeds. We would like to know which skills are important to which parts of riding, e.g. in cornering or braking or negotiating obstacles. We have developed some new methods to assess these skills but we need to check that these methods work and provide information that is relevant to how children ride motorcycles. How do I take part or register my interest in being involved? For further information or to participate in this study please contact Catherine Ho c.ho@neura.edu.au For more information click here

Child Restraint Installation

Researchers at UNSW Sydney (The University of New South Wales) and NeuRA are seeking volunteer research participants to learn how a novel design feature on a child car seat affects its installation. Would the research study be a good fit for me? The study might be a good fit for you if you are: Over 18 years of age Conversant in English What would happen if I took part in the research study? If you decide to take part you would: Come into NeuRA and install a child car seat in a car, and a child dummy into the car seat, and then answer some questions about your experience. It would take approximately 1 hour. Will I be paid to take part in the research study? You will be reimbursed $25 for travel associated with the research study visit. Who do I contact if I want more information or want to take part in the study? Name: Bianca Albanese, PhD Candidate Email:  b.albanese@neura.edu.au Phone: 9399 1848 Expression of Interest [ninja_forms id=251]

Comfort/Orthopaedic Aid Use in Older Drivers Study

Who are we? Neuroscience Research Australia is one of the largest research institutes in Australia dedicated to the study of the brain and nervous system. We have an international reputation for research excellence. Areas of research include: injury prevention mental illness (e.g. schizophrenia, autism etc) ageing and neurodegeneration (e.g. dementia) sensation, movement, balance and falls brain structure and function neural injury   Who is running the study? This project is funded by the Ramaciotti Foundation. Partners in this study are: Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) University of New South Wales The George Institute for Global Health Western Sydney University   What is the research study about? Safe mobility is critical for active, independent and healthy ageing, and many older people rely on cars for transportation. Drivers over the age of 70 currently account for over 14% of driver fatalities in Australia. In a recent sample of 380 drivers aged 75 years and older, we saw more than a quarter were using a comfort aid, such as padding, cushions, and back supports whenever they travel in a car. Though it is unknown exactly what effect different comfort accessories may have on crash protection, it is likely that many of these could negatively impact crash protection by inducing slack, which in turn may be influencing the disproportional number of older Australians being killed and injured in car crashes. Currently it is unclear why these aids are being used and what information is being provided to older Australians about these aids. While there may be genuine functional reasons for their use, there are no existing guidelines detailing acceptable comfort aids for use in vehicles. This study is the first stage of a larger project and aims to: Determine the extent and nature of the use of comfort and orthopaedic aids by older drivers and passengers. Determine reasons for the use of aids from a consumer perspective.   Data will be collected from participants through a telephone survey.The results from this study will be used to formulate a set of evidence-based guidelines for use by clinicians, geriatricians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and other relevant health professionals to ensure Australia’s ageing population maintains mobility without increased risk of injury in a crash.   Who is taking part in this research study? Suitable participants will be contacted via telephone by the Edith Cowan University Survey Research Centre. Partipants must be: Persons aged 65 years and over residing in NSW. Persons who have access to their own/family car and travel in this on a regular basis as either a driver or passenger (i.e. travelling in the car at least once a week).   What does this study involve? Participants who consent to take part in this study will be asked to complete a 15 minute telephone survey. The survey consists of a set of questions regarding driving and travelling behaviours, levels of comfort when travelling, whether advice/recommendations were received including the use of comfort/orthopaedic aids or car adjustments for improving comfort, levels of pain experienced, mobility and function, as well as general demographic information.   Results of the study Results of the study will be made available here soon.   Further Information If you require further information regarding this study or have any questions you can contact the following member/s of the research team:   Research Team Contact Name Ramanjot Sran Position Research Assistant Phone +61 2 9399 1844 Email r.sran@neura.edu.au

Effects of Noradrenergic and Antimuscarinic agents on Sleep Apnoea Severity

The study aims to investigate: The effects of Noradrenergic and Antimuscarinic medications on the severity of sleep apnoea in OSA patients You can help our research if you: Are aged 18-65 Have diagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea Are otherwise healthy Are not pregnant or possibly pregnant If you take part in the study you would: Visit NeuRA in Randwick up to three times over 3 weeks for overnight sleep studies We will apply a range of stick on recording devices Participate in awake breathing tests and a driving simulator Be monitored overnight Depending on the study, some invasive nose, tongue and throat sensors may be used Please contact:  Andrea or Carolin sleeplab@neura.edu.au 9399 1886

Research participant Amanda Ayliffe with husband David

Genetics of Alzheimer's disease

Dementia is usually thought of as a disease of ageing. However, the burden of young onset dementia, with symptoms occurring before age 65, has recently been identified as an important area not well supported by the health care system. Dr Bill Brooks has continued his development of information and support systems for use by families that have early onset hereditary dementias. Spastic paraparesis, a form of lower limb paralysis, has frequently been associated with early onset Alzheimer's disease. However, in those individuals with spastic paraparesis, the onset of dementia is significantly delayed. Dr John Kwok and Professor Peter Schofield have shown that none of the genes that are known to cause spastic paraparesis are associated with this variant presentation of Alzheimer's disease. They are now using genetic linkage approaches to attempt to identify these modifier genes, which may provide therapeutic targets for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Professor Schofield has continued his support for the genetic analysis of two epidemiological studies led by campus colleagues, Professors Perminder Sachdev and Henry Brodaty. The Memory and Ageing study has recruited 1,000 individuals from the south-eastern region of Sydney while the Older Australian Twin Study is recruiting twins and their siblings from the eastern seaboard.

HIV-associated dementia

We are currently recruiting healthy men aged 45 years and over for a study investigating the link between HIV infection and dementia. In conjunction with St Vincent's Hospital, the University of New South Wales and Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), the study aims to estimate the prevalence of memory and concentration difficulties in older individuals with long-term HIV infection, as well as the means (if any) by which long-term HIV infection contributes to the incidence of an illness like dementia. An important part of this study is recruiting healthy control participants as a comparison group. To participate, you must be: male 45 years old or older in good health, with no psychiatric or neurological disoders We will ask you to make two visits to St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney over an 18 month period. Each visit will last two hours, during which we will ask you to participate in a neuropsychological test of attention, memory, visuo-spatial and language function. We will also ask to take an MRI scan of your head (this involves lying quietly in the MRI scanner for 45 minutes). If you so chose, we can make the study results available to your doctor of choice. We will reimburse your travel/parking expenses. To participate, or for more information contact Dr Lucette Cysique on 0431 576 710 or via email: lcysique@unsw.edu.au  

Digitally created arm showing muscles, bones, veins and arteries

Improving hand function after stroke

Stroke often affects both our ability of our hands to feel and our ability to contract muscles. Sensory and motor functions are tightly linked. Yet, most rehabilitation strategies aimed at regaining dexterity after stroke largely focus only on motor recovery. We have previously found that some stroke patients have a disorganised touch perception map. When a patient is touched in one location on the hand while their eyes are closed, they feel it in some other location.  There is little awareness of this condition, and it is generally not detected during routine neurological examination as even patients themselves are not aware of it. Our recent study revealed that it is possible to correct this scrambled map, leading to improved motor functioning. This new evidence means that we can now focus on creating new rehabilitation strategies that can help patients to regain normal sensation and fine motor skill after a stroke. If you would like to obtain information how to volunteer in research on stroke please contact Dr Ingvars Birznieks, Tel 9399 1672, i.birznieks@neura.edu.au

Mother-infant attachment

We are recruiting mothers and infants for a study using fMRI to explore mother-infant attachment. We are looking for healthy controls as well as mothers with a severe mood disorder. Participation involves questionnaires, an assessment of mother-infant interaction, an assessment of infant development as well as the fMRI for mums. Participants are compensated for their time and travel costs. If you are interested, or know someone who might be suitable, please contact Janan Karatas at j.karatas@unsw.edu.au or call 0413 787 115.

Motorcycle Protective Clothing Study

Neuroscience Research Australia is researching the use of protective clothing among motorcyclists. We are interested in: Understanding more about the benefits riders see in the use of protective clothing Understanding more about how riders choose the clothing they wear when riding Understanding more about the challenges faced by riders in using protective clothing when they ride If you are a motorcyclist aged 18 years and over and have ridden on-road in the previous month, you may be able to take part in our study. Participation is completely voluntary, and participants are free to withdraw from the study at any time and for any reason. If you decide to participate, you will take part in a 1-2 hour focus group with other motorcycle riders in NSW. Travel costs will be reimbursed and lunch will be provided on the day. Your participation can help us develop a better understanding of what benefits and challenges the rider experience when using protective clothing, and how to best communicate with riders about protective clothing. If you would like more information on the study please contact Catherine Ho on 9399 1848 or on email: c.ho@neura.edu.au. Alternatively, to register your availabilities for the focus groups, please click here to fill in a quick survey and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible. Related downloads Information on the Motorcycle In-Depth Crash Study

MS-SAFE

  The MS-SAFE study aims to investigate:  the effects of step training on preventing falls in people with multiple sclerosis (MS). You can help our research if you: are 18 or older have stable MS (no relapse in the past month) are active and independent in daily living If you take part in the study you would: visit NeuRA in Randwick twice over 2 weeks. be assessed with your fall risk and ability to recover balance after trips and slips (the photo). practice stepping after trips and slips, or stepping over obstacles. receive summary results of your fall risk profile. EXPRESSION OF INTEREST [ninja_form id=119] Please contact: Yoshi Okubo Phone: (02) 9399 1065 E-mail: y.okubo@neura.edu.au [caption id="attachment_15678" align="alignleft" width="402"] Reactive step training at NeuRA[/caption]  

Online Motor Imagery Task

We are looking for volunteers aged 5-18 years to participate in an online experiment to help us study how children learn to distinguish the left side of their body from the right. It might seem trivial, but it's an important question - being able to quickly identify parts of your body helps us to function normally in the world. We can test this ability by showing people photographs of a hand and getting them to press a button if they think it is a left hand and a different button if they think it is a right hand. We call the test a ‘left/right judgment task’. Knowing how long this takes on average, and therefore what is ‘normal’ will help us identify people who might require specific treatments to improve their functioning. If you are aged between 5 and 18 year, or know someone who is, then click here to volunteer in this study. Practical details of this experiment: Location: At your computer, in your home Duration of trial: Maximum of 20 minutes What do I have to do? Perform an online task What do you get? Benefits of future therapies which may result from the research Children must have the permission of their parent/guardian to participate You will be able to access our study/publications/blogs related to the experiment Contact information: Dr James McAuley, Senior Research Officer, T: +612 9399 1273, E: j.mcauley@neura.edu.au

Own Your Balance

Research investigating innovative ways to feel more confident about daily life activities . Falls are common in daily life for all sorts of reasons, and can sometimes cause people to feel quite concerned about what would happen to them if they would fall.   Funded by the Mindgardens Neuroscience Network, we have joined forces with the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands) and the Black Dog Institute (Sydney), to design and evaluate a program that is accessible to anybody with concerns about falling. It combines online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and a hands-on personal work book that will help you find solutions that work for you. We will also be utilising our cutting-edge balance program StandingTall to provide a graded balance program. What would happen if I took part in the research project? ·      The study is entirely home-based with no need to travel. ·      All participants will be asked to complete a fall risk assessment via video call and to complete monthly questionnaires over 12 months. ·      Participants will be randomly allocated into one of three groups: -       Group 1: Will be asked to follow their usual care. -       Group 2: Will be asked to follow the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Fear of Falling program from home for 8 weeks.  At 8 weeks, tailored physical activity guidance will be provided for future physical activity. -       Group 3:  Will be asked to follow the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Fear of Falling and StandingTall balance programs from home for 8 weeks. At 8 weeks, tailored physical activity guidance will be provided for future physical activity.   Who can participate in the research? You can participate in this study if you are: ·      65+ years of age ·      Have a substantial concern about falls or low balance confidence ·      Living in the Sydney metropolitan area ·      Able to walk household distances ·      Have no progressive neurological condition (eg. Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease) ·      Not participating in a fall prevention program If you would like more information or are interested in being part of this study please click here You can also contact Alicia Brown on 02 9399 1036 or alicia.brown@neura.edu.au for more information.  

Preventing Falls

This study aims to determine whether an individualised exercise and home hazard reduction program can reduce the rates of falls in older people living in the community with cognitive impairment or dementia. The Intervention program involves:- • A personal exercise program to improve strength and balance and home hazard reduction program delivered by experienced therapists. • Support and advice to carers to help their family member/friend to perform the exercises. Note: As this is a research study only half of the participants will be randomly allocated to receive the intervention program and the other half will not. This will be determined randomly like when tossing a coin. To participate, you must be: 65 years of age or older English-speaking (due to the assessments we use) Community-dwelling or live in a retirement village Living in the Sydney metropolitan area With cognitive impairment or dementia Has a family member or close friend with regular face-to-face contact (carer) >3.5hrs/week No acute medical illnesses or progressive neurological disease such as Parkinson's This study will involve assessments of your fall risk, using measures of strength, balance, vision, reaction time and walking. You will be asked some questions about your general health, physical activities, medication use and falls history. If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact the I-FOCIS Research Team on 02 9399 1851 or by email atiFOCIS@neura.edu.au

SAFE-PD

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and The University of New South Wales are seeking research volunteers to help us learn about reactive and volitional step training to reduce falls among people with Parkinson’s disease. Would the research project be a good fit for me? The study might be a good fit for you if: Have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (mild to moderate stage of the disease) Aged 40 years or older Living independently in the community or retirement village Able to communicate in English language Do not have a diagnosis of other neurological and/or cognitive impairments, atypical Parkinsonism No recent history (< 6months) of deep-brain stimulation surgery Able to walk 30 metres unassisted Have had less than 20 falls in the past three months Being stable on anti-Parkinson medications for >= 1 month EXPRESSION OF INTEREST [ninja_form id=111] What would happen if I took part in the research project? If you decide to take part you would: Be invited to visit NeuRA to assess your physical functions, clinical status, reactive stepping and brain functioning (non-invasively) (option to have some of the assessments conducted in your home); these assessments will be repeated after 3 months and you will receive summary results of these assessments Be randomly allocated to one of two groups: one group will undertake 3 months of training, including a volitional step training program in your home plus 2 sessions of reactive step training at NeuRA. The other group will continue with their usual activities for 3 months. Will I be paid to take part in the research project? You may be reimbursed for any reasonable travel costs associated with the research project visit/s. Contact If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study please contact Contact person: Paulo Pelicioni email: p.pelicioni@neura.edu.au Phone: 02 9399 1024 HREC Approval Number: 180129 [caption id="attachment_12225" align="alignleft" width="344"] Volitional step training at home[/caption] [caption id="attachment_15324" align="alignleft" width="373"] Reactive step training at NeuRA[/caption]  

smart±step – balance and brain training

What is smart±step? smart±step is a system that uses a wireless step mat and a series of interactive computer games to reduce falls risk in older people. It was developed for people over the age of 65 years, using over 15 years of research from the Falls Balance and Injury Research Centre at NeuRA. smart±step features eight fun and engaging games that challenge balance, as well as thinking, skills of attention, inhibition and visual-spatial. The system is designed to be played at home, and connects easily to a TV or computer monitor. Two pilot randomised controlled trials of an early version of smart±step showed the intervention group had improved balance, step reaction times and central processing ability, compared to the control group. We recently completed two large randomised controlled trials to examine the effects of smart±step on falls, physical and cognitive functions. One study involved 750 older people living in the community. Another multi-site trial involved almost 500 people with multiple sclerosis living in NSW, ACT, Vic and Tas. Results from these trials are now being analysed. NeuRA is currently partnering with Allity to assess the usability of smart±step amongst aged care residents. NeuRA’s long-term goal is to partner with community and assisted living services, as well as hospital inpatient and outpatient departments.   How it works smart±step comes with a wireless step mat and computer system which connect to a television screen or monitor. Players navigate the games, which appear on the screen in front of them, by stepping in the correct direction at the correct time. For example, in one of the games named Toad Runner, players must help their toad avatar to cross busy roads, footpaths and rivers whilst timing their moves to avoid obstacles. The quicker and more precise their steps are, the more likely users are to progress through the game. Each of the eight games contains five levels of difficulty: very easy, easy and moderate through to hard and very hard – very hard is a challenge for a young and healthy person. There are a range of stepping activities to choose from, such as squashing cockroaches and shooting aliens. Each game challenges a different cognitive function, with some requiring more advanced processing ability and quicker reaction times. Players compete with themselves, and are encouraged to get the highest score they can before playing another game. While all games train the brain and body, players who complete multiple games will get the most diverse cognitive training. Accurate and appropriately timed stepping is crucial for avoiding falls, as is sharp mental processing. By training balance and reaction, as well as attention, working memory and task execution, smart±step helps to prevent people from falling in the real world.   The smart±step games         Game title Description Stepmania Players steps are guided by arrows and dance tracks to make them feel as if they aren’t exercising at all La Cucaracha Set in a desert, players need to squash cockroaches and avoid the cacti, which zoom past at an increasingly speedy rate Brick Stacker Players use their feet to rotate and align the falling bricks so that rows can be cleared before they build up to the top of the screen Alien Invasion Just like the retro arcade game, players use their feet to fire lasers at fast-approaching aliens Greek Village Players navigate a three dimensional village in Greece and are required to choose the correct path whilst avoiding obstacles as the pace quickens Anaconda Players step to control the direction of the snake, taking care not to bump into walls or the snake’s own body Toad Runner Players use their feet to guide the frog across the river, avoiding the obstacles Dot Muncher Players guide the dot muncher through the maze, using their feet, with the aim to reach the cherry and avoid the four floating ghosts.  

StandingTall Plus

In light of the current COVID-19 situation, we have adapted our trial so that we can continue our research while maintaining the safety of our participants and staff. All previous face-to-face assessments and home-visits will now be conducted remotely using Telehealth methods (video calls). The  StandingTall-Plus study is investigating the effectiveness of a home-based balance and cognitive exercise program in reducing the number of falls in older people over a 12-month follow-up period. We are also collaborating with the Black Dog Institute to offer online cognitive behavioural therapy to address a fear of falling and depressive thoughts. The program is tailored to each individual’s requirements. Half of the volunteers will be asked to use the  StandingTall-Plus program at home, while the other half will be asked to continue with their usual activities. All volunteers will undergo assessments of their physical and cognitive status. Please note we have now concluded recruitment for this trial. We want to thank all participants involved. If you are interested in participating in similar studies, please click here [ninja_form id=152] We are also running an international implementation study of StandingTall in parts of New South Wales, Victoria and Northern England, for more information visit: https://www.neura.edu.au/project/international-implementation-study-of-standingtall/

Dr Phu Hoang

Step training for people with MS

What is the purpose of this study? To investigate whether a 6-month period of training using a stepping device can improve your balance, thinking skills and reduce your risk of falling. What does the study involve? If you are interested in this study you will be invited to one of our study sites: NeuRA in Randwick, the MS Limited Centres in Lidcombe (NSW), Canberra, Hobart or Melbourne to undertake a falls risk assessment and step performance test. This involves measuring the strength in your legs, and ability to stand still on different surfaces and walking ability. You are free to use mobility aids that you use in daily activities. After the assessments you will be randomly allocated to one of two groups: exercise booklet or stepping exercise. If you are allocated to the exercise booklet group you, will be given a series of exercises to practice for 6 months. If you are allocated to the stepping exercise group, you will be provided with the smartstep computerised step training system. 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 and are played with a step mat. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="354"] Smartstep - step mat[/caption] 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. [caption id="" align="alignnone" width="376"] Smartstep - computer games[/caption] During the 6 months of the study we ask that you try play the stepping games for 120 minutes per week. You will be able to contact us at any time throughout the study if you have any questions about the system.While participating in the study, whether you are in the normal or stepping exercise group, you can continue your routine exercises such as hydrotherapy, riding bicycle, yoga, tai chi, gym, etc. You will be asked to keep a diary of falls during the 6 months of the study and 6 months after completion of the study. Following the 6-month exercise period, you will be invited to return to the study site for follow-up assessments. These assessments are identical to the assessments that you would have completed at the beginning. Participants can also take part in 2 optional sub-studies related to the main study with the aims to a) investigate whether exercises using a stepping training system would improve sensation in the joint and muscles and muscular performance in lower limbs of people with multiple sclerosis and b) determine the relationship between sleep disruption and its consequences on balance and fall risks in people with multiple sclerosis. The study is currently recruiting people in Metropolitan Sydney, Canberra, Hobart and Melbourne. Who can enrol? People who have confirmed diagnosis of MS, aged 18 years and over, living in the community. To be included in the study, MS participants need to be: • Mobile and able to walk at least 50 meters with or without mobility aid • Able to understand and follow instructions • Having stable MS (with or without disease modifying drugs) with no exacerbation in the past 30 days • And currently not involved in any falls prevention programs. Will I be reimbursed? Your participation in the study is totally voluntary. You will be reimbursed for expenses associated with participation in the study such as travel to the study site. Contact Information If you have any questions, or if you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact a member of the research team: Sydney (Randwick and Lidcombe sites): Ph: (02) 9399 1127, email: ifims@neura.edu.au Canberra: Ph (Ms Sophie Robinson, research assistant): 0400 988 531, email: ifims.canberra@neura.edu.au Hobart: Ph (Ms Jessica Turner, research assistant): 0447 397 071, email: ifims.hobart@neura.edu.au Melbourne: Ph (Ms Anna Butler, research assistant): 0408 368 244, email: ifims.melbourne@neura.edu.au Chief Investigators: Professor Stephen Lord, Dr Phu Hoang, Dr Jasmine Menant, Dr Daina Sturnieks and other members of the Motor Impairment program. UNSW HREC Approval number: 14211 Prince of Wales Hospital HREC Approval number: 14/312

Targeted Therapy for Sleep Apnoea

Professor Danny Eckert, Professor Lynne Bilston, Dr Michelle Donegan, Dr Alan Chiang, Dr Jayne Carberry, Benjamin Tong, Carolin Tran, Andrea Ricciardiello, Jade Yeung The study aims to investigate how targeted therapy using a mandibular advancement device works to open the upper airway in sleep apnea. To take part in this study, you must; Have been diagnosed with sleep apnoea and are otherwise healthy Be aged over 18 Not be pregnant or breastfeeding If you take part in the study you would: Be referred into the study by a sleep specialist Visit NeuRA in Randwick for a minimum of 2 dental appointments and 3 overnight studies We will apply a range of stick on recording devices Participate in awake breathing tests Be monitored overnight Some invasive nose, tongue and throat sensors will be used Please contact:  Andrea or Carolin sleeplab@neura.edu.au 9399 1886

The Better Drive Study

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and The University of New South Wales are seeking older adults as research volunteers to trial driving interventions to improve driving in later life. This study will be suited to you if: You are aged over 65 have a current drivers licence and drive regularly plan to keep driving What would happen if I took part in the research project? The study will run for 24 months and if you decide to take part you would: Have your vision, memory and reactions tested at NeuRA and have an on the road driving test through a pre-determined route. Follow up assessments will occur at 3, 12 and 24 months. Be randomly allocated to one of three driving skills refresher programs: 1) classroom education 2) classroom education and tailored feedback and action planning on your driving skills 3) classroom education, tailored feedback and action planning on your driving skills and 2 on the road driving lessons with a trained instructor Keep monthly driving diaries No impact on licence – research only Expression of Interest [ninja_forms id=311] Contact If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study please contact The Better Drive Team Email: betterdrive@neura.edu.au Phone: 02 9399 1135

Digitally created image of location of lungs and brain in body

The Effects of "Z Drugs" in People with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

The study aims to investigate: The effects of zolpidem on the how easily people wake up when the airway narrows during sleep in OSA patients You can help our research if you: Are aged 18-65 Have diagnosed obstructive sleep apnoea Are otherwise healthy Are not pregnant or possibly pregnant If you take part in the study you would: Visit NeuRA in Randwick 2 times over 2 weeks for overnight sleep studies We will apply a range of stick on recording devices Participate in awake breathing tests and a driving simulator Be monitored overnight Some invasive nose, tongue and throat sensors will be used Please contact: Andrea or Carolin sleeplab@neura.edu.au 9399 1886

Digitally created image of inner ear

Vestibular

We are seeking healthy individuals aged 40 years and over for a study aiming to improve clinical tests of vestibular (balance) function. By investigating and optimising current recording techniques our research seeks to advance the identification of disease or impairment in older subjects, and this is of particular importance as the normal effects of aging often obstruct underlying balance issues. Our study uses non-invasive techniques to record muscle activity (using skin surface electrodes) in response to brief stimulation of the balance organs. To be considered, participants must have: no history of inner ear pathology (dizziness or vertigo) that required hospitalization no neurological illness no conductive hearing loss Participants will be asked to undergo a single session of testing that will take place at the Prince of Wales hospital. The study lasts for approximately 1 to 1.5 hrs. Interested participants can contact Danielle Dennis (d.dennis@neura.edu.au) or Sendhil Govender (s.govender@neura.edu.au) for further information or ring 93822430. Participants can be reimbursed up to a value of $50 for any travel or parking expenses incurred during their visit.

Vision, Posture and Balance

Vision, Posture and Balance Study (Optic Flow) - This study has now been completed We asked - how good is your balance? Would you like to know your Falls Risk Score? We asked for older adults to participate in this study looking at how vision influences posture and balance. Participants were: Aged 60 years and older In fair to good health - good vision when wearing glasses, no neurological disorders Able to stand for 60 seconds without a support The aims of this study was to determine: 1. Whether balance, posture and standing body alignment and muscle activity are affected by vision differ between young and older people and between older people at low and high risk of falls 2. Whether an over-reliance on vision for balance control might increase the risk of falls The study involved an assessment with a series of interesting tests evaluating your vision, strength, reaction time, sensation, balance and mobility. All procedures are safe and are routinely used in clinical and research settings. Study participants received an assessment report on their balance with recommendations for minimising the risk of falling. The study was completed over a 2 hour session at Neuroscience Research Australia in Randwick, NSW.