NeuRA Magazine #27


The Summer 2018 issue of the NeuRA Magazine (#27) highlights a NeuRA’s Parkinson’s disease research.

Other stories include:

  • Former Deputy Premier of NSW, the Hon. John Watkins AM, tells his story of living with Parkinson’s disease.
  • NeuRA launches eBook to support Mental Wellness at Work
  • Better labelling on child car restraints could increase correct use by 27%
  • Breaking news: Scientia Professor George Paxinos discovers hidden region in the brain

To access the NeuRA magazine you can either:

– click the contents tab on the right hand of your screen
– or you can click the PDF below and download it to read on the screen at home or at work.

We have also just launched a new mental health eBook which is free and can be downloaded by following this link:
Enjoy and thanks for all your interest and support of our critical work in Neuroscience here at NeuRA.

Download the PDF here.



See what’s going on at NeuRA


Cortical activity during balance tasks in ageing and clinical groups using functional near-infrared spectroscopy

Prof Stephen Lord, Dr Jasmine Menant Walking is not automatic and requires attention and brain processing to maintain balance and prevent falling over. Brain structure and function deteriorate with ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, in turn impacting both cognitive and motor functions.   This series of studies will investigate: How do age and/or disease- associated declines in cognitive functions affect balance control? How is this further impacted by psychological, physiological and medical factors (eg. fear, pain, medications)? How does the brain control these balance tasks?     Approach The experiments involve experimental paradigms that challenge cognitive functions of interest (eg.visuo-spatial working memory, inhibitory function). I use functional near-infrared spectroscopy to study activation in superficial cortical regions of interest (eg. prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area…). The studies involve young and older people as well as clinical groups (eg.Parkinson’s disease).   Studies Cortical activity during stepping and gait adaptability tasks Effects of age, posture and task condition on cortical activity during reaction time tasks Influence of balance challenge and concern about falling on brain activity during walking Influence of lower limb pain/discomfort on brain activity during stepping   This research will greatly improve our understanding of the interactions between brain capacity, functions and balance control across ageing and diseases, psychological, physiological and medical factors, allows to identify targets for rehabilitation. It will also help identifying whether exercise-based interventions improve neural efficiency for enhanced balance control.