NeuRA Magazine #29

New Research


The 1,000 Brains Study is a ground-breaking research project to identify the elements in the brain that cause life-changing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and other types of dementia. This study will focus on the key unresolved question: why do some of us develop devastating neurodegenerative diseases, while others retain good brain health?

The study will not only compare the genomes of people who reached old age with those who have died from neurodegenerative disease, but it will also conduct post mortem examinations to compare the brain tissue in these groups as well. Collecting and researching brain tissue takes place at NeuRA’s Sydney Brain Bank.

The Director of the Sydney Brain Bank at NeuRA, Dr Claire Shepherd, said Brain Banks are essential to underpin research into neurodegenerative disorders. “We can collect brain tissue and do our own research on this in the hope that we can find a cure or a treatment for these diseases and disorders,” said Dr Shepherd.

The 1,000 Brains Project is about understanding the genetics behind neurodegenerative disorders.

“We hope to sequence the genome of these people and understand what genetic risk factors and genes contribute to the disease process,” said Dr Shepherd. Holding the genetic information as well as the clinical information and the brain tissue greatly enriches the research outcomes that can be achieved.



See what’s going on at NeuRA


ReacStep – novel balance training programs to prevent falls in older adults

The ReacStep study is investigating the short-term effects of two balance training programs (i.e. reactive balance training and conventional balance training) on balance recovery from slips and trips in older adults. These programs are designed from evidence-based research and offer a challenging and unique experience to improving balance. The ReacStep team are calling on volunteers who: are aged 65 and over living independently in the Sydney metropolitan community can walk 500m comfortably with mobility aids or rest have not been advised by a medical practitioner not to exercise have no neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc.) have no history or lower limb, pelvic or vertebral fracture(s) and/or lower limb joint replacement(s) in the past 6 months have no other existing conditions that may prevent them from exercising (e.g. injury, pain, fatigue, etc.) Eligible volunteers will be subjected to a health and safety screening before they are enrolled and randomly allocated into one of the two groups. Both groups will undertake a 3-week training program with an exercise physiologist, at NeuRA (i.e. in Randwick) as well as a balance recovery assessment at the 4-week time point. Reactive balance training involves intentionally stepping on a sliding tile, stepping over obstacles, trigger-release recovery as well as strength training. Participants will be wearing a full-body safety harness to ensure safety. Conventional balance training involves keeping balance in varying foot positions (i.e. feet together, in tandem or on one leg) whilst performing secondary tasks such as throwing a ball, card sorting, solving a maze or playing computer games. For more detailed information, read the Participant Information Statement and watch the video below. To get involved or to register your interest, click HERE. For all other queries, please contact the ReacStep Team on 02 9399 1002 or HC210350