NeuRA Magazine #22

LEAVING A LEGACY OF DISCOVERY

Keith and Lucille had never considered how medical research could benefit from the donation of a brain until their world came crashing down. After noticing changes
in her husband, it was revealed that Keith was living with frontotemporal dementia. About one year later, he was also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They desperately wanted to help future generations, and decided together that the best way to do that was through brain donation. They knew their precious gift would not only be of tremendous value to researchers now, but that it would create a legacy of discovery for years to come. After Keith’s passing and subsequent donation, an examination of his brain revealed that he was in fact not living with Parkinson’s disease, but had lived with both frontotemporal dementia and the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. These types of findings are crucial in helping researchers and clinicians better diagnose and treat a wide range of brain diseases and is an key part of the reason why Lucille and Keith thought it important to bequest their brains to science at the Sydney Brain Bank.

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

StandingTall-Plus: a multifactorial program to prevent falls in older people

A cutting-edge research study on the effectiveness of a multifaceted program including balance exercise, brain training and cognitive behavioural therapy towards reducing falls. The StandingTall team, led by Associate Professor Kim Delbaere, has worked with over 500 community-dwelling older people since 2015, implementing a home-based balance exercise program delivered through a tablet computer. By embracing technology, we are providing an alternative exercise opportunity, which is engaging and using all the latest evidence to prevent falls. The program has been a success with our participants, evidenced by unprecedented levels of sustained adherence to prescribed balance exercises over two years. For our next research study, called “StandingTall-Plus”, we have added a cutting-edge brain training program to help people think faster on their feet during daily activities. We are also collaborating with the Black Dog Institute to offer online cognitive behavioural therapy to address depressive thoughts and low mood. All participants will be assessed using a comprehensive test battery of known falls risk factors across physical, cognitive and affective domains. This will then be used to offer each participant a fully tailored program that is suited to their abilities and circumstances. Our primary aim is to reduce the number of falls over a 12-month follow-up period when compared to a health promotion program. We are currently recruiting for the StandingTall-Plus research study, for more information visit: https://www.neura.edu.au/clinical-trial/standingtall-plus/
PROJECT