Digitally created image of brain in skull

ForeFront

RESEARCH CENTRE

Forefront operates two research clinics with the aim of better understanding frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and motor neurone (MND) syndromes. These clinics allow translation of our research into clinical practice.
1. Our Clinics

FRONTIER is the only dedicated FTD clinic in Australia. It was established by Prof John Hodges in 2007 and receives 80-100 new patients annually for comprehensive research evaluation. Each patient is followed at 6-12 month intervals using clinic or home visits and/or questionnaires. Serial blood samples are collected for the establishment of cell lines, and DNA and serum extraction.

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2. Cognition and neuroimaging

Assoc Prof Olivier Piquet has 10 years experience in clinical research combined with 20 years experience as a clinical neuropsychologist. Dr Michael Hornberger is an expert in imaging and interested in identifying the neural correlates of behavioural and cognitive symptoms in patients. They combine cognitive, imaging and neuropathological methods in their research.

A 3-Tesla Philips scanner is available at NeuRA to undertake a full range of grey and white matter tract imaging.

We aim to find out which functions of the brain and brain areas are first affected by FTD and MND, and improve clinical diagnostic procedures.

How to get involved?

3. Biospecimens

In order to develop effective interventions for people with FTD, tests to identify the type of cellular changes occurring in the brain need to be developed, especially for those with the initial symptoms of FTD and MND where treatments would be of the greatest benefit. We aim to achieve this by using biospecimens from DNA, blood and brain donations.

Ultimately our goal is to find a cure for these devastating conditions. Our current research goal is to develop an easily identifiable biological marker (a biomarker) that indicates the type of cellular changes occurring in the brain of each patient with FTD. In order to do this, we will be screening blood from people with FTD and MND for a broad array of cellular markers such as proteins that accumulate in the brain, and other molecules associated with cell degeneration. To develop these biomarkers, it is essential to use brain tissue.

How can I donate my brain?

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FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

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.  
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