Researcher News

Improving responses to potential child abuse

Health/allied health practitioners have a vital role in protecting children from future harm, and many feel they have a moral obligation to do so. Their role can include supporting families and linking them with specialist support services, monitoring and recording issues, and alerting the appropriate authorities when required. In Australia we have a differential response system which means that there are different response requirements depending upon the level of risk to the child. Sadly, we know little about the extent to which health practitioners can identify appropriate responses. Unfortunately, concerns raised globally suggest that health practitioners may struggle to do…

Understanding the impact of head injury on brain health

Research There is considerable scientific and community interest in the consequences of repetitive traumatic brain injury (TBI) and global public concern that even mild head injury may lead to a progressive neurodegenerative disorder known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in later life. The clinical consequences of CTE are varied and include impaired cognitive ability, movement and psychiatric symptoms. These symptoms may appear many years after TBI and are common to other neurodegenerative diseases, creating difficulty for accurate clinical diagnosis. CTE can only be recognised by microscopic examination of brain tissue after death and is characterised by the abnormal accumulation of…

A way to cope during COVID-19: the strategy most effective for young men with lower wellbeing

Surprising new research shows a particular coping strategy has allowed young men with lower wellbeing to cope better with the distress of COVID-19 lockdowns. The study led by Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) examined the influence of coping strategies used by 1,749 young men and women aged 13-25 on the level of social isolation they felt as a result of COVID-19 induced lockdowns in Australia and America in 2020. The coping strategies used by youth were either approach-oriented (active problem solving, seeking emotional support and planning) or avoidance-oriented (self-distraction, self-blame, substance use, excessive eating). Dr Gatt and her team found that…

Study Finds Epilepsy Rate 15 Times Higher in People With Alzheimer’s disease

Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease are both common in older adults. They both impact the affected individuals, their loved ones, caregivers, and the community.  A recent study at NeuRA sought to understand the relationships between epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease at a population level. It was found that the rate that people develop epileptic seizures is 15 times higher in people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) than in the general older population. This systematic review by Dr Ying Xu and A/Prof Ruth Peters, was conducted in collaboration with fellow NeuRA researchers Dr Louise Lavrencic, Dr Kylie Radford and Prof Kaarin Anstey and national…

Large-Scale Genome Analysis Identifies Differences by Sex in Major Psychiatric Disorders

A large-scale study by several international research teams, including NeuRA, analysed potential differences between sexes in the genetics of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. Results indicate that while there was substantial genetic overlap between the sexes, significant sex-dependent differences were still found for genes related to the immune system, central nervous system and vascular function across and within these major psychiatric disorders. This study was the largest genome-wide genotype-by-sex analysis of mood and psychotic disorders to date, analysing the genomes of 85,735 cases (people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder), with 109,946 controls. Though the specific mechanisms…

Research finds that how well the tongue moves forward during inspiration is not influenced by higher tongue fat content in a common sleep disorder

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a common breathing disorder, characterised by recurrent partial or complete upper airway collapses during sleep, resulting in sleep disturbance. The disorder can cause daytime sleepiness, headaches and trouble with memory, and is linked to a variety of serious health conditions, such as heart disease. Of all the risk factors associated with OSA, obesity is a strong contender. It is thought that excessive gain weight leads to an increased tongue volume due to increased fat content that narrows the upper airway, which becomes more susceptible to collapse. However, while obesity predisposes to, and increases the severity…