Injury Prevention

RESEARCH CENTRE

The Injury Prevention Research Centre undertakes research that aims to prevent injuries. Injury is the leading cause of death for people under 45 years of age. Injuries to the nervous system, such as brain and spinal cord injuries, are particularly devastating – often leading to lifelong disability.

Chief Investigators

Research Projects

Injuries in car crashes
Road accidents are the commonest cause of serious injury to humans. Research is aimed at understanding how and why these injuries occur, and developing effective preventative strategies. This research program encompasses studies of injury mechanisms in vehicle occupants, and design and evaluation of countermeasures to injury, including public health, educational and engineering solutions.

Falls Injury
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalisation in persons aged 65 years and over and account for four percent of all hospital admissions in this age-group. The falls injury program undertakes research into the mechanisms of falls, and is developing methods to predict falls risk and prevent falls and injury

Pain after injury
Many trauma patients suffer from ongoing pain as a result of their injuries. Studies are being undertaken to determine how this pain arises from injury, and how it can be treated. This will lead to improved pain management guidelines.

 

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Exploring the electrophysiology and heritability of wellbeing and resilience

The majority of adults without a mental illness still experience poor mental health, indicating a need for a better understanding of what separates mental wellness from mental illness. One way of exploring what separates those with good mental health from those with poor mental health is to use electroencephalography (EEG) to explore differences in brain activity within the healthy population. Previous research has shown that EEG measures differ between clinical groups and healthy participants, suggesting that these measures are useful indicators of mental functioning. Miranda Chilver’s current project aims to examine how different EEG measures relate to each other and to test if they can be used to predict mental wellbeing. Furthermore, she hopes to distinguish between EEG markers of symptoms including depression and anxiety, and markers of positive symptoms of wellbeing to better understand how wellbeing can exist independently of mental illness. This will be done by obtaining measures of wellbeing and depression and anxiety symptoms using the COMPAS-W and DASS-42 questionnaires, respectively. Because EEG measures and mental wellbeing are both impacted by genetics as well as the environment, Miranda will also be testing whether the links found between EEG activity and Wellbeing are driven primarily by heritable or by environmental factors. This information will inform the development of future interventions that will aim to improve wellbeing in the general population. To achieve these goals, the project will assess the relationship between EEG activity and wellbeing, and between EEG and depression and anxiety symptoms to first test whether there is an association between EEG and mental health. Second, the heritability of the EEG, wellbeing, depression, and anxiety will be assessed to determine the extent to which these variables are explained through heritable or environmental factors. Finally, a model assessing the overlap between the heritable versus environmental contributions to each measure will be developed to assess whether genetics or environment drive the relationship between EEG and mental health. This project is based on a sample of over 400 healthy adult twins from the Australian TWIN-E study of resilience led by Dr Justine Gatt. This research will pave the way for improved mental health interventions based on individual needs.
PROJECT