NeuRA Magazine #19

Volunteer opportunities

HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO RESEARCH

A participant assists in falls and balance 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.

Research groups currently looking for participants:

James McAuley Group
Back pain
The purpose is to investigate the mechanisms underlying the development and persistence of chronic low back pain. We hope to explain why some people get better after hurting their back while others do not. We are looking for healthy volunteers who do not have low back pain within the last two years as the control group. The participation in this study will involve three sessions of approximately 2 hours. The sessions will occur at baseline and again 3 and 6 months later.

Stephen Lord Group
Step training
We are looking at training a participants’ ability to respond to slips and trips while walking. The participant will experience perturbation (either a slip or trip) while walking along our walkway. They will be in a harness to prevent injury.

Lynne Bilston Group
Breathing and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
We aim to understand how the function of the upper airway muscles, sensation in the airway, and the brain all control breathing muscles and how these things contribute to obstructive sleep apnoea. We hope this will lead to personalised treatments of sleep apnoea in the future. This study requires two overnight visits in the sleep laboratory and an MRI appointment. Participants may be compensated up to $220.

Jane Butler Group
Breathing and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have difficulty performing simple physical tasks such as walking from one room to the next. These tasks require effort and causes breathlessness (comparable to a normal person performing strenuous exercise). We perform electroencephalography (EEG) in our study to determine if a cortical contribution is present during quiet breathing in people with COPD. We would like to recruit participants of similar age (+-2 years), BMI and same gender as our COPD participants.

Stephen Lord Group
Understanding upper limb function in the young and old
Motor impairments are common and occur in many diseases and disorders, and also with ageing. We aim to understand motor impairments and to devise strategies to reduce their deleterious effects. To do this, an approach of ‘physiological profiling’ for lower limb performance has been used by Professor Lord and colleagues to reduce the risk of falls. We will undertake a similar approach to measure performance of the upper limb using simple inexpensive tests that can ultimately be widely used in research and clinical practice.

Janet Taylor Group
Does learning about pain change the influence of exercise in people with chronic pain?
The purpose of this research project is to better understand how exercise affects pain in people with chronic pain. We are looking for volunteers with fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis of the hip or knee to take part in an experiment investigating the effect of exercise and pain education on pain thresholds. Volunteers would be required to visit the laboratory on one occasion for approximately 90 minutes. During this visit, participants would be asked to complete a short series of questionnaires, perform 20 min of low-moderate intensity aerobic exercise, and have their pain threshold measured before and after this exercise. The assessment of pain thresholds is non-invasive and produces only the minimum perceivable amount of pain. Participants will be offered $30 for their time.

If you would like to register or find out more, call 02 9399 1071 or email volunteers@neura.edu.au. You can also volunteer as a healthy research participant.

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

The cold case of schizophrenia - broken wide open!

‘It is like they were miraculously healed!’’ Schizophrenia is diagnosed by clinical observation of behaviour and speech. This is why NeuRA researchers are working hard to understand the biological basis of the illness. Through hours of work and in collaboration with doctors and scientists here and around the world, NeuRA has made an amazing breakthrough. For the first time, researchers have discovered the presence of antibodies in the brains of people who lived with schizophrenia. Having found these antibodies, it has led NeuRA researchers to ask two questions. What are they doing there? What should we do about the antibodies– help or remove them? This is a key breakthrough. Imagine if we are treating schizophrenia all wrong! It is early days, but can you imagine the treatment implications if we’ve identified a new biological basis for the disease? It could completely change the way schizophrenia is managed, creating new treatments that will protect the brain. More than this, could we be on the verge of discovering a ‘curable’ form of schizophrenia? How you can help We are so grateful for your loyal support of schizophrenia research in Australia, and today I ask if you will consider a gift today. Or, to provide greater confidence, consider becoming a Discovery Partner by making a monthly commitment. We believe there is great potential to explore these findings. Will you help move today’s breakthrough into tomorrow’s cure? To read more about this breakthrough, click ‘read the full story’ below. You are also invited to read ‘Beth’s story’, whose sweet son Marcus lived with schizophrenia, by clicking here.
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