Projects

Each tile includes a summary and discussion of the aims of current research projects at NeuRA.

If you’d like to be involved as a participant, please click here to find out about volunteering for research.

If you are a student and would like to conduct a similar project with one of our supervisors, click here to find out about studying at NeuRA.

MyCOACH: Connected Advice for Cognitive Health

Researchers at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and University of New South Wales (UNSW) are inviting people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or Subjective Cognitive Decline (SCD) to participate in a voluntary online research trial aiming to reduce the risk of dementia.

What is the MyCOACH Trial about?

This research aims to test the effectiveness of an e-learning and behaviour change course designed to support healthy brain ageing and reduce risk of dementia.  The course is tailored for people reporting cognitive difficulties or changes. The trial runs for 12 weeks, with a follow up at 1 and 2 years afterwards.

What is involved in this research trial?

Interested volunteers will be asked to complete some eligibility checks to confirm this study is a good match.    If you decide to take part you would:

  • Be placed into either the MyCOACH e-learning group (“Intervention”) or the Control Education group (“Control”). To ensure the research is fair and unbiased, we cannot choose the group for you.   It will be random – like names out of a hat.

MyCOACH e-learning group (“Intervention”):  Volunteers in this group participate in the 12 week online MyCOACH program.  This includes 6 e-learning chapters, as well as three phone consultations with a dietician and/or exercise physiologist, and a 3-month subscription to a brain training app.

Control Education group (“Control”): Volunteers in this group will receive information about cognitive health and risk factors for dementia.  This group is important to be able to measure the effectiveness of the research.  At the end of the study, volunteers in this “control” group can access the full MyCOACH e-learning course.

  • Take part in four telephone interviews throughout the study with questions about your health. This includes a follow-up at the end of 12 weeks, and 1 and 2 years later.

You may be eligible to participate in the MyCOACH Trial if you:

  • Have concerns about changes in your memory or thinking OR diagnosed with ‘Mild Cognitive Impairment’
  • Are 65 years of age or older

 

Expressions of interest

Fields marked with an * are required

 

Contact

If you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact us for more information:

Dinaz Parekh

Email: mycoach@neura.edu.au

Phone: (02) 9399 1815

Own Your Balance

Research investigating the impacts of cognitive behavioural therapy and balance programs on fear of falling, funded by Mindgardens.

Falls and fear of falling affect many older people and can impose limitations upon daily activities. Over one third of community dwelling older people fall each year with about 15% of falls being injurious. However, two thirds of older people express a fear of falling during common daily activities, making it more common than falls itself. Fear of falling has been associated with needless restriction in physical and social activities, and subsequent deterioration of health and wellbeing.

Previous research has suggested that fear of falling can be reduced through cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and balance exercise programs. However, these face-to-face treatments are resource intensive and not readily accessible to people. Furthermore, the effects of these treatments on fear of falling are small and often do not last beyond the duration of the program.

By utilising technology and providing tailored physical activity guidance we are aiming to reduce a fear of falling in an accessible, efficient and lasting way.

A thee-arm randomised clinical trial will be conducted in 189 community-dwelling older adults with a substantial concern of falling. Participants will be randomly allocated into one of three groups in order to test whether a self-managed CBT intervention, alone or in combination with a graded balance activity program, can reduce concerns about falling in older adults when compared to usual care.

We are collaborating with the Black Dog institute to provide a home-based cognitive behavioural therapy program that addresses a fear of falling. We will also be utilising our cutting-edge balance program StandingTall to provide a graded balance program.

 

Related studies:
https://www.neura.edu.au/project/reducing-fear-of-falling-and-activity-avoidance-in-older-adults-with-disproportionate-levels-of-fear-of-falling/
https://www.neura.edu.au/project/standingtall-plus-a-multifactorial-program-to-prevent-falls-in-older-people/

https://www.neura.edu.au/project/standing-tall/

The Dementia rIsk REduCTion (DIRECT) collaboration

We know that having high blood pressure increases the chance that we will develop dementia and cognitive decline as we grow older but we are still trying to understand whether using blood pressure lowering treatments (antihypertensives) can help to prevent this. To explore the relationship between blood pressure, blood pressure lowering and cognition we will combine global data from the highest quality placebo-controlled trials of antihypertensive drugs. This project will deliver knowledge and targeted clinical recommendations for antihypertensive use to support reduction of dementia risk.

Frailty, Ageing and Inflammation Trial for Health

Commencing in 2021, this open labelled pilot randomised controlled trial will look at the impact of fibre and antioxidants on frailty, inflammation and the microbiome.

Ageing Well In Australia

This project is underway and is recruiting 125 adults aged 60-70 from multicultural backgrounds. The interviews are conducted online on zoom and standardised surveys as well as qualitative questions are administered. A Dietary Inflammatory Index will be calculated via a collaboration with the University of South Carolina.

What is the analgesic effect of EEG neurofeedback for people with chronic pain? A systematic review

Researchers: A/Prof Sylvia Gustin, Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati, Dr Wei-Ju Chang, A/Prof James McAuley, Dr Andrew Booth, A/Prof Toby Newton-John, Prof Chin-Teng Lin, A/Prof Zina Trost

Chronic pain is a global health problem, affecting around one in five individuals in the general population. The understanding of the key role of functional brain alterations in the generation of chronic pain has led researchers to focus on pain treatments that target brain activity. Electroencephalographic (EEG) neurofeedback attempts to modulate the power of maladaptive EEG frequency powers to decrease chronic pain. Although several studies provide promising evidence, the effect of EEG neurofeedback on chronic pain is uncertain. This systematic review aims to synthesise the evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the analgesic effect of EEG neurofeedback.

The search strategy will be performed on five electronic databases (Cochrane Central, MEDLINE, Embase, PsycInfo, and CINAHL) for published studies and on clinical trial registries for completed unpublished studies. We will include studies that used EEG neurofeedback as an intervention for people with chronic pain. Risk of bias tools will be used to assess methodological quality of the included studies. RCTs will be included if they have compared EEG neurofeedback with any other intervention or placebo control. The data from RCTs will be aggregated to perform a meta-analysis for quantitative synthesis. In addition, non-randomised studies will be included for a narrative synthesis. The data from non-randomised studies will be extracted and summarised in a descriptive table. The primary outcome measure is pain intensity assessed by self-report scales. Secondary outcome measures include depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and sleep quality measured by self-reported questionnaires. Further, we will investigate the non-randomised studies for additional outcomes addressing safety, feasibility, and resting-state EEG analysis.