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.

The Enhanced Advance care planning and life Review Longitudinal Intervention (EARLI) Project

The EARLI project is funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (2022-2026) and is led by the University of New South Wales.

In this project, the researchers are investigating whether a combination of life story work (looking back over the life, using stories, photographs and other meaningful objects) and advance care planning (discussions about preferences for future care and treatment) can help older adults receiving aged care services at home.

 

The EARLI project will be partnering with a number of aged care organisations in Sydney and Perth, to recruit participants who are receiving aged care services at home.

 

The project team are currently running a nation-wide pilot survey, which is open to anyone who is 65 years or older, living independently in the community, and able to communicate in English, Chinese or Italian. If you would like to complete the survey, please follow this link https://redcap.link/earli-pilot-survey, or contact the research team if you require further assistance.

 

If you would like to contact the study team, please email earli-project@neura.edu.au or call (02) 9399 1095

HABIT - Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial

(Harnessing Automatic Behaviours Intervention Trial): A habits-based pilot behaviour change intervention to increase physical activity in people with mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline.

 

This research study aims to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a habits based physical activity intervention for older adult participants with mild cognitive impairment or subjective cognitive decline. This intervention will target your every-day habits to help create healthy, automatic habits of regular physical activity, that are easy to maintain over the long-term. You will be given an Apple Watch for the duration of the experiment, which combined with an Apple iPhone application will track your health outcomes. The application will also ask you to participate in some cognitive tests and psychological surveys. The study will also involve a physical activity habits workshop, and a one-hour one-on-one interview with an exercise physiologist.

Please contact

Email : t.pace@neura.edu.au

Phone number: 9399 1636

 

Dementia – Experiences of family care givers

An Online Survey Exploring Protective Factors Against Stigma

What is this research about?

This online survey, led by Professor Kaarin Anstey, is aiming to help us better understand the experiences of family care givers of people with dementia. In particular, this research is looking into the impact of negative attitudes or disbeliefs – so called stigma.

Stigma can not only negatively impact the person with dementia directly, but also their family members, leading to significant negative impacts on health and well-being. Aiming to reduce the negative impact of stigma on family caregivers, this survey is exploring which factors can act as buffer against stigma.

The outcome of this study will help inform future interventions about these important protective factors against stigma and contribute to promote health and well-being for family caregivers of people with dementia.

What does participation involve?

The online survey is anonymous and will take approximately 30-35 minutes to complete. The survey will ask you questions about yourself (e.g. age, sex, and education), your caregiver role and experiences associated with it, your attitudes towards ageing and dementia knowledge, your emotions and reactions to challenges, and your social relationships.

Who can participate?

You are eligible to complete the online survey if you are:

  • Over the age of 18
  • Currently caring for a family member with a formal diagnosis of dementia
  • Have access to internet to complete the survey

If you would like to hear more about the study or receive the link to the online survey, please fill out the form below or contact us directly on stigma@neura.edu.au or 02 9399 1116.

 

Brain and Knee Muscle Weakness Study

Why Does Quadriceps Weakness Persist after Total Knee Replacement?

An Exploration of Neurophysiological Mechanisms

Total knee replacement is a commonly performed surgery for treating end-staged knee osteoarthritis. Although most people recover well after surgery, weakness of the quadriceps muscles (the front thigh muscles) persists long after the surgery (at least for 12 months), despite intensive physiotherapy and exercise. Quadriceps muscle weakness is known to be associated with more severe pain and greatly affect daily activities.

This study aims to investigate the mechanisms underlying weakness of the quadriceps muscles in people with knee osteoarthritis and total knee replacement. We hope to better understand the relationship between the changes of the brain and a loss of quadriceps muscle strength after total knee replacement.

The study might be a good fit for you if you:

  • Scheduled to undergo a total knee replacement;
  • The surgery is scheduled within the next 4 weeks;
    • Do not have a previous knee joint replacement in the same knee;
    • Do not have high tibial osteotomy;
    • Do not have neurological disorders, epilepsy, psychiatric conditions, other chronic pain conditions;
    • Do not have metal implants in the skull;
    • Do not have a loss of sensation in the limbs.

If you decide to take part you would:

  • Be contacted by the researcher to determine your eligibility for the study
  • Be scheduled for testing if you are eligible and willing to take part in the study
  • Sign the Consent Form when you attend the first testing session
  • Attend 3 testing sessions (approximately 2 hours per session): 1) before total knee replacement, 2) 3 months and 3) 6 months after total knee replacement. The testing will include several non-invasive measures of brain representations of the quadriceps muscles, central pain mechanisms, and motor function and questionnaires.

Will I be paid to take part in the research study?

You will be reimbursed ($50.00 per session) for travel and parking expenses associated with the research study visits.

If you would like more information or are interested in being part of the study, please contact:

Name: Dr Wei-Ju Chang

Email: w.chang@neura.edu.au

Phone: 02 9399 1260

This research is being funded by the Physiotherapy Research Foundation.

 

ReNeuWell®

 

 

ReNeuWell® is your home for neuroscience-based information and personalised positive psychology activities to guide you towards greater resilience and mental wellbeing.

What is ReNeuWell®?

Associate Professor Justine Gatt and her team from Neuroscience Research Australia and UNSW have developed a new resilience and wellbeing app called ReNeuWell® which provides a personalised solution to build resilience and promote mental wellbeing for adults in the general population. Each activity offers both educational content and practical advice to increase your wellbeing.

How does it work?

The ReNeuWell® app includes the COMPAS-W Wellbeing Scale, and provides a tailored four-week program of activities. Activities used in the ReNeuWell® app draw on evidence-based psychological concepts or approaches including mindfulness, meditation, coping with stress, self-compassion, acts of kindness, gratitude diaries, positive event scheduling, and goal-setting.

Who is it for?

ReNeuWell® is designed for the average healthy adult looking for ways to understand and boost their own wellbeing.

ReNeuWell® is suitable for anyone who:

  • has an iPhone
  • is aged 18 years or over
  • can understand written English
  • is not currently experiencing moderate to severe mental illness symptoms

ReNeuWell® is designed to boost wellbeing and resilience to stress. It is not designed to treat mental illness symptoms, so if you are currently experiencing these symptoms, we encourage you to consult a mental health specialist and seek treatment before using the ReNeuWell® app. For anyone who is currently experiencing severe distress and needs immediate support, please contact one of the mental health support services listed here.

What is the time commitment?

ReNeuWell® is designed to be used for around 10 minutes a day for at least four weeks. Every four weeks, the app will re-measure your wellbeing and offer you daily activities to build on your progress for as long as you wish. Evidence generally suggests that the benefits of using these kinds of techniques increase over time as it takes a while for new habits to be developed.

What is the science behind it?

The ReNeuWell® app is based on over eight years of neuroscience research and promotes resilience and mental wellbeing for the 60% of the population who may not necessarily meet criteria for mental illness diagnosis but may nonetheless be looking for self-help options to boost their own wellbeing. Furthermore, the ReNeuWell® team has received approval to conduct its own clinical trial of the app, and this study is currently open to volunteers (more information below).

Can I participate in the clinical trial?

The ReNeuWell® team is committed to gathering the best scientific evidence on the app and its effectiveness. We will soon run a clinical trial (approved by the University of New South Wales) to test two versions of the app and see which one is more effective for increasing your wellbeing. If you meet the eligibility criteria and wish to participate, when the app becomes available, you can download it and then choose to express your interest and enrol in the trial if you meet eligibility criteria. You will then receive the app for free for 12 weeks. For more information, including the Participant Information Statement and Consent Form, click here.

How is my privacy protected?

The privacy of ReNeuWell® users and their data is our top priority. Any information you provide will remain confidential and securely stored.

For the full Terms and Conditions of using the app, click here.

For the full NeuRA Privacy Policy, click here: https://www.neura.edu.au/privacy/

What does the app cost?

The app will be available for purchase for a one-time payment fee. If you participate in the clinical trial, you will receive the app for free for 12 weeks, and after that, you can choose whether or not to purchase the app and continue using it.

Where can I download ReNeuWell®?

Once the app is launched, you will be able to download ReNeuWell® from the App Store.

After downloading the app, you will have the option of purchasing it upfront, or enrolling in the clinical trial and using the app for free during the trial period.

If you would like to be notified when the app is launched, please send us your details using the form below, and we will be in touch shortly.

We hope to offer an Android version of ReNeuWell® soon. If you have an Android phone and are interested in the app, join our waiting list and you will be notified as soon as an Android version is available.

Fields marked with an * are required

Funding and partners

ReNeuWell® has been made possible with funding support from:

Mindgardens Neuroscience Network

ReNeuWell® was developed in collaboration with:

Miroma Project Factory

We would also like to acknowledge the involvement of:

University of New South Wales
Neuroscience Research Australia

Further questions

If you have any further questions about ReNeuWell® or the research project, please email us at: reneuwell@neura.edu.au.

Blood pressure, retinal microvascular abnormalities, and dementia: considering the socioeconomic pos

High blood pressure is related to the development of cerebral small vessel disease, retinal microvascular abnormalities, eye diseases (e.g. cataract and glaucoma), reduced visual acuity, and dementia. Cerebral small vessel disease, retinal microvascular abnormalities, eye diseases and vision are also related to the risk of dementia. Moreover, socioeconomic inequalities are related to blood pressure and dementia and may consequently shape the associations between blood pressure and risk of cerebral small vessel disease, retinal microvascular abnormalities, eye diseases and dementia. 

To date, there is no study investigating the indirect effects of cerebral small vessel disease, retinal microvascular abnormalities, eye diseases and vision impairment on dementia or cognitive decline and no study evaluating the influence of different socioeconomic indicators on these associations.