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Spinal Cord Injury

RESEARCH CENTRE

What is the Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre?

The Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre (SCIRC) at NeuRA was established in 2020.

The Centre conducts research aimed at improving the lives of those with spinal cord injuries, and was built thanks to funding from SpinalCure Australia.

The Centre is home to studies that could lead to significant changes to the treatment methods for people with spinal cord injuries.

How does the SCIRC work?

This facility contains state-of-the-art exercise, rehabilitation and neurophysiology equipment. NeuRA has long been a world leader in neurostimulation research. The creation of this centre in 2020 enables the organisation to increase the scope and speed of this research. The Centre is currently exploring cutting-edge techniques, such as neurostimulation and inspiratory muscle training, which could help activate muscles in people with spinal cord injuries.

Improved activation of muscles is likely to lead to improved bodily functions, such as breathing and walking.

Research studies are led by NeuRA Deputy Director Simon Gandevia, Senior Principal Research Scientist Jane Butler, and Senior Research Scientist Euan McCaughey.  They are joined by Dr Martin Heroux, Dr Claire Boswell-Ruys and Dr Liz Bye.

Why is this research so important?

Around 350 Australian’s are affected by a spinal cord injury each year, many of them at a young age.

The effects of a spinal cord injury are major: they can impair many critical functions that are easily taken for granted. Movement, sensation, blood pressure control as well as bowel, bladder, sexual function can all be affected.

NeuRA’s commitment to spinal cord injury research could help improve the quality of life of the estimated 12,000 people across Australia who have a spinal cord injury

The Spinal Cord Injury Research Centre is based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) which is located next to the Prince of Wales Hospital on Barker St in Randwick NSW.

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SCIRC LEADERSHIP

Simon Gandevia (s.gandevia@neura.edu.au)

Jane Butler (j.butler@neura.edu.au)

SCIRC TEAM

Euan McCaughey (e.mccaughey@neura.edu.au)

Martin Heroux (m.heroux@neura.edu.au)

Claire Boswell-Ruys(c.boswell-ruys@neura.edu.au)

Liz Bye (l.bye@neura.edu.au)

 

The Centre is home to three studies that could lead to significant changes to the treatment methods for people with spinal cord injuries. Related projects include:

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

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.
PROJECT