Multiple system atrophy

HEALTH INFORMATION

Understanding why and how MSA occurs

WHAT WE KNOW

Multiple system atrophy (MSA) is a progressive degenerative neurological disorder that affects adult men and women, usually in their 50s or 60s. It is caused by degeneration or atrophy of nerve cells in specific areas of the brain. It is still unclear as to why cells become damaged in people with MSA and further research needs to be conducted into why and how this happens.

The shrinking of the cells can cause problems with movement, balance and autonomic functions of the body such as bladder and blood pressure control.

Symptoms may include fainting spells and problems with heart rate, erectile dysfunction, and bladder control. Motor impairments (ie, loss of or limited muscle control or movement, or limited mobility) may include tremor, rigidity, and/or loss of muscle coordination as well as difficulties with speech and gait (the way a person walks).

The clinical features of MSA overlap with those of Parkinson’s disease, and for this reason, early cases of MSA are often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. We now know that the feature that definitively identifies MSA pathology is the buildup of a protein called alpha-synuclein in oligodendrocytes, the support cells of the brain.

These cells are responsible for producing myelin, which is the specialised membrane that encases the nerve fibres in the brain. The alpha-synuclein protein buildups in the brain of people with MSA mean that the oligodendrocytes cannot properly make myelin, and without myelin the neurons will degenerate and eventually die.

The cause of MSA is unknown, no specific risk factors have been identified, and there is no cure or effective treatment. Treatment for MSA includes medications and lifestyle changes to help manage symptoms. The condition progresses gradually and eventually leads to death.

What else is happening in Multiple system atrophy research at NeuRA?

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

MyCOACH: Connected Advice for Cognitive Health

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are inviting people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) to participate in a voluntary online research trial aiming to reduce the risk of dementia. What is the MyCOACH Trial about? This research aims to test the effectiveness of an e-learning and behaviour change course designed to support healthy brain ageing and reduce risk of dementia.  The course is tailored for people reporting cognitive difficulties or changes. The trial runs for 12 weeks, with a follow up at 1 and 2 years afterwards. What is involved in this research trial? Interested volunteers will be asked to complete some eligibility checks to confirm this study is a good match.    If you decide to take part you would: Be placed into either the MyCOACH e-learning group (“Intervention”) or the Control Education group (“Control”). To ensure the research is fair and unbiased, we cannot choose the group for you.   It will be random - like names out of a hat. MyCOACH e-learning group (“Intervention”):  Volunteers in this group participate in the 12 week online MyCOACH program.  This includes 6 e-learning chapters, as well as three phone consultations with a dietician and/or exercise physiologist, and a 3-month subscription to a brain training app. Control Education group (“Control”): Volunteers in this group will receive information about cognitive health and risk factors for dementia.  This group is important to be able to measure the effectiveness of the research.  At the end of the study, volunteers in this “control” group can access the full MyCOACH e-learning course. Take part in four telephone interviews throughout the study with questions about your health. This includes a follow-up at the end of 12 weeks, and 1 and 2 years later. You may be eligible to participate in the MyCOACH Trial if you: Have concerns about changes in your memory or thinking OR diagnosed with ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’ Are 65 years of age or older   Expressions of interest [ninja_forms id=376]   Contact If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact us for more information: Dinaz Parekh Email: mycoach@neura.edu.au Phone: (02) 9399 1815
PROJECT