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.

Brain and Knee Muscle Weakness Study

Why Does Quadriceps Weakness Persist after Total Knee Replacement? An Exploration of Neurophysiological Mechanisms Total knee replacement is a commonly performed surgery for treating end-staged knee osteoarthritis. Although most people recover well after surgery, weakness of the quadriceps muscles (the front thigh muscles) persists long after the surgery (at least for 12 months), despite intensive physiotherapy and exercise. Quadriceps muscle weakness is known to be associated with more severe pain and greatly affect daily activities. This study aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying weakness of the quadriceps muscles in people with knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement. We hope to better understand the relationship between the changes of the brain and a loss of quadriceps muscle strength after total knee replacement. The study might be a good fit for you if you: Scheduled to undergo a total knee replacement; The surgery is scheduled within the next 4 weeks; Do not have a previous knee joint replacement in the same knee; Do not have high tibial osteotomy; Do not have neurological disorders, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, other chronic pain conditions; Do not have metal implants in the skull; Do not have a loss of sensation in the limbs. If you decide to take part you would: Be contacted by the researcher to determine your eligibility for the study Be scheduled for testing if you are eligible and willing to take part in the study Sign the Consent Form when you attend the first testing session Attend 3 testing sessions (approximately 2 hours per session): 1) before total knee replacement, 2) 3 months and 3) 6 months after total knee replacement. The testing will include several non-invasive measures of brain representations of the quadriceps muscles, central pain mechanisms, and motor function and questionnaires. Will I be paid to take part in the research study? You will be reimbursed ($50.00 per session) for travel and parking expenses associated with the research study visits. If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study, please contact: Name: Dr Wei-Ju Chang Email: w.chang@neura.edu.au Phone: 02 9399 1260 This research is being funded by the Physiotherapy Research Foundation.  
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