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Research participant's arm in a machine designed for motor impairment study

Motor Impairment

RESEARCH CENTRE

Motor Impairment is a major cause of physical disability and includes muscle weakness and fatigue, impaired sensation and poor balance, and muscle contracture and spasticity – all of which need to work if we are to undertake the usual range of daily activities.

The goals of our five-year (2014-2018), NHMRC-funded Motor Impairment Program are to better understand the pathophysiology of motor impairment, to implement interventions and to drive enhanced clinical practice.

 

LATEST NEWS AND EVENTS

Second International Motor Impairment Conference 2020 (Register Interest)

Following the success of the First International Motor Impairment Conference in Sydney, Australia in 2018, we are pleased to announce that the Second International Motor Impairment Conference will be held in Amsterdam on 17-19th November 2021.

 

The goal of these meetings is to better understand the pathophysiology of Motor Impairment, to implement interventions, and to drive enhanced clinical practice.  Much is still unknown about fundamental mechanisms of Motor Impairment, and about its prevention and treatment.

 

For news & updates

Register

your interest

today

 

 

Location: Hotel Casa, Amsterdam.

 

 

Bringing together the brightest minds working on Motor Impairment from all over the world.

 

First International Motor Impairment Conference 2018

Professor Simon Gandevia, Deputy Director at NeuRA announced that NeuRA will host the first International Motor Impairment Conference in Sydney Australia. Nov 26th-28th.

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

‘Progressive. Incurable. Terminal. Nothing matters… I am going to die.’

‘There are days that I just cry like a baby. I’m meant to be the provider, the strong one. No son should have to change the underwear of their 57 year old father.’ Shin Liu is a man you want to know... kind, articulate and with love in his heart. At 57 years old however, Shin has planned his funeral. Two years ago, Shin was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND). Unlike many cancers or heart disease, there is not a single thing the medical profession can do to stop MND. This excruciating disease twists and contorts the human body in the most horrific way, and it quickly destroys the ability to move, speak, swallow and breathe. Life expectancy post diagnosis is 2.5 years. But NeuRA researchers are making exciting progress toward it's defeat. After years of meticulous research, we've learnt that in more than 90% of MND cases a protein called TDP-43 is responsible for the changes in motor neurones. In pre-clinical (non-human) trials, we have found that this protein can be controlled by a specially engineered peptide sequence (i.e. medication) which has the potential to stop MND in its tracks. But here is the most exciting development… we are observing improvements in movement, behaviour and memory upon administering this medication! This is innovative, ground-breaking research and we need your help to accelerate this research, which will in time enable clinical trials in people living with MND. Will you support or research today?
APPEAL

The RESTORE Trial: Immersive Virtual Reality Treatment for Restoring Touch Perception in People with Discomplete Paraplegia

Chief Investigators: Associate Professor Sylvia Gustin, Prof James Middleton, A/Prof Zina Trost, Prof Ashley Craig, Prof Jim Elliott, Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati, Corey Shum and James Stanley While recognition of surviving pathways in complete injuries has tremendous implications for SCI rehabilitation, currently no effective treatments exist to promote or restore touch perception among those with discomplete SCI. The proposed study will address this need by developing and testing a novel intervention that can provide touch restoration via the primary source of sensory perception: the brain.Complete spinal cord injury (SCI) is associated with a complete loss of function such as mobility or sensation. In a recent discovery we revealed that 50% of people with complete SCI still have surviving somatosensory nerve fibres at the level of the spine. For those with complete SCI this is hopeful news as it means -- contrary to previous belief that communication to the brain had been severed by injury -- that the brain is still receiving messages. This new SCI type is labelled “discomplete SCI” -- a SCI person who cannot feel touch, but touch information is still forwarded from the foot to the brain. The project will use virtual reality (VR) in a way it has never been used before. We will develop the first immersive VR interface that simultaneously enhances surviving spinal somatosensory nerve fibres and touch signals in the brain in an effort to restore touch perception in people with discomplete SCI. In other words, immersive VR is being used to re-train the brain to identify the distorted signals from toe to head as sensation (touch). For example, participants will receive touch simulation in the real world (e.g., their toe) while at the same time receiving corresponding multisensory touch stimuli in the virtual world (e.g., experiencing walking up to kick a ball). This project is the first effort worldwide to restore touch sensation in 50% of individuals with complete injuries. The outcomes to be achieved from the current study will represent a cultural and scientific paradigmatic shift in terms of what can be expected from life with a spinal cord injury. In addition, the project allows potential identification of brain mechanisms that may ultimately represent direct targets for acute discomplete SCI rehabilitation, including efforts to preserve rather than restore touch perception following SCI. RESTORE consolidates the expertise of scientists, clinicians, VR developers and stakeholders from NeuRA and UNSW School of Psychology (A/Prof Sylvia Gustin, Dr Negin Hesam-Shariati), John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research, Kolling Institute and University of Sydney (Prof James Middleton, Prof Ashley Craig and Prof Jim Elliott), Virginia Commonwealth University (A/Prof Zina Trost), Immersive Experience Laboratories LLC (Director Corey Shum) and James Stanley. If you are interested in being contacted about the RESTORE trial, please email A/Prof Sylvia Gustin (s.gustin@unsw.edu.au) and include your name, phone number, address, type of SCI (e.g., complete or incomplete), level of injury (e.g., T12) and duration of SCI (e.g., 5 years).
PROJECT