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NEWS AND MEDIA

Landmark trial aims to help people with spinal cord injury walk again

Australian researchers are embarking on a landmark international trial which aims to help people with spinal cord injury walk again. Led by researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and primarily funded by SpinalCure Australia and CatWalk Trust NZ, the eWALK trial aims to harness the power of neuroplasticity to restore the function of remaining spinal nerves. The therapy, neurostimulation, sends electrical impulses through electrodes that sit on the surface of the skin over the spinal cord.  When it is coupled with step and walking training in people with chronic paraplegia, the therapy helps to rewire the neural pathways that have…

World’s largest bipolar genomics study provides new insights into the biological causes of the disorder

In a global collaborative investigation, researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and over 200 other institutions around the world have identified 64 genomic regions that make people more susceptible to bipolar disorder. Published today in Nature Genetics, the study conducted by the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium revealed where in DNA the genetic variations that increase risk to bipolar disorder are located, and what specific genes and pathways they impact, opening up future opportunities to better identify people who are likely to develop the condition and develop better treatments. Bipolar disorder is a common mood disorder that affects around 350,000 Australians and an…

New trial aims to reduce frailty and improve mental health by connecting older Australians and preschoolers

In an Australian first, scientists will today begin a pilot trial bringing together older adults and preschoolers to assess the mutual health benefits of intergenerational activity, such as reducing frailty and depression. Inspired by the award-winning ABC series, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds, the Intergenerational Integration Initiative will see older adults and young children engage in a structured series of investigative, artistic and educational activities together. Evidence suggests these planned intergenerational activities might reduce frailty and improve mood and thinking skills in the older adults, and also improve empathy and language development and reduce age stereotypes in the…

StandingTall: A new e-Health exercise program helps prevent falls in older people by up to 20 per cent

Coinciding with Falls Awareness Month, a new study into the balance exercise program, StandingTall, has shown promising results in significantly reducing the rate of falls over two years by up to 20 per cent. Falls in older people are common, can have serious consequences (hip fractures, placement in care facilities), are costly to the individual, society and health system, and are preventable. Published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) this week, the two year trial of 503 Australians aged 70 years and older found the home based e-health balance exercise program, StandingTall, can provide an effective, self-managed fall prevention program…

NeuRA and Kidsafe Australia release updated National Child Restraint Guidelines

Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and Kidsafe Australia today launched the Best Practice Guidelines for the Safe Restraint of Children Travelling in Motor Vehicles, which aims to keep children up to 16 as safe as possible when travelling in vehicles. Child restraints are used to protect young passengers travelling in motor vehicles, and include rearward and forward-facing car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Despite high levels of child car restraint use in Australia (92-99%) and one of the most stringent child restraint design standards in the world, approximately 40-70 children are killed on Australian roads each year, and thousands more…

Professor Peter Schofield’s Response to Proposed ANU Neuroscience Closure

Australia has a proud history of neuroscience, with the Australian National University (ANU) as one of our most esteemed leaders. Now we are facing the proposed closure of the Eccles Institute of Neuroscience, the legacy of Sir John Eccles who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the most basic neuroscience, by defining how neurons communicate through both chemical and electrical signalling within the brain.