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NEWS AND MEDIA

New guideline aims to improve the standards of studies that explore cause and effect mechanisms in health research

A new guideline has been released today, aiming to help scientists publish their research accurately and transparently. Published in JAMA, the AGReMA Statement (A Guideline for Reporting Mediation Analyses) helps scientists to report research that uses mediation analysis to understand why a particular outcome occurs by exploring possible causal relationships. For example, researchers looking at the effect of exercise on weight loss might find it is caused by increasing self-discipline. To reduce the likelihood of inadequate and inaccurate reporting, researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) put together an…

New report shows disparity in care following a hip fracture

The Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) today released its 2021 Annual Report into the recovery process after a hip fracture, revealing a significant difference in care for patients across hospitals in the ANZ region. Hip fracture is a common and life-changing injury sustained by older people, whose bones are weaker and prone to breaking from a fall. Approximately 20,000 hip fractures occur each year in Australia and New Zealand, with 5% of people dying in hospital because of this injury. Based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), the ANZHFR report has identified that while 90% of people are…

Chronic pain might impact how the brain processes emotions

Source: UNSW Chemical ‘messengers’ called neurotransmitters help regulate our emotions – but scientists have noticed a disruption to their levels in people with chronic pain. More than three million Australians experience chronic pain: an ongoing and often debilitating condition that can last from months to years. This persistent pain can impact many parts of a person’s life, with almost half of people with chronic pain also experiencing major anxiety and depression disorders. Now, a new study led by UNSW Sydney and NeuRA shows that people with chronic pain have an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the part of the brain responsible…

Researchers aim to improve self-management of early-stage dementia through innovative online platform

In a world-first, researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) are trialling an online intervention for people with early-stage dementia with the aim of improving self-management techniques. A multi-site trial in collaboration with Norway and the UK, the SHAPE (Self-management and Health Promotion in early-stage dementia with E-learning for carers) trial aims to support people living with mild to moderate dementia manage their diagnosis, as well as educating their loved ones. Currently, more than 500,000 people in Australia have dementia with 250 new diagnoses each day. These diagnoses are expected to rise to over 300 per day within the next five…

Researchers show muscle relaxants are ineffective and may be unsafe for low back pain

Australian researchers have found muscle relaxants are largely ineffective and potentially unsafe when treating low back pain, despite being widely prescribed. Published today in the British Medical Journal, research by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and UNSW has shown muscle relaxants might reduce pain in the short term, but the effect is too small to be considered clinically meaningful, and there is an increased risk of side effects. The research also showed that the effects of long-term muscle relaxant use remain unknown. Low back pain is a major global public health problem and has been the leading cause of disability worldwide…

Researchers reduce severity of sleep apnoea by at least 30 per cent

In an Australian-first, researchers have successfully repurposed two existing medications to reduce the severity of sleep apnoea in people by at least 30 per cent. Affecting more than one million Australians1, sleep apnoea is a condition where the upper airway from the back of the nose to the throat closes repetitively during sleep, restricting oxygen intake and causing people to wake as often as 100 times or more per hour. Those with untreated sleep apnoea are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, dementia and depression, and are two to four times more likely to crash a car than the general…