Researcher News

Improving mental wellbeing using positive psychology techniques

There are a lot of tips floating around these days about how to improve or maintain mental wellbeing during lockdowns, but how well do these suggestions work and how long do they take? Many studies assessing wellbeing-boosting activities, known as positive psychology interventions, have been assessed based on face-to-face delivery approaches, using waitlist control groups and typically over the course of two to three months. While positive psychology interventions like acts of kindness, positive reminiscence and self-compassion reflection appear to be effective in these contexts, we wanted to know whether they can be effective when self-administered over shorter timeframes. We…

Is the brain activity elicited by emotion linked to wellbeing?

Stuck at home due to lockdown? How do you feel? Frustrated and angry? Or calm and relaxed knowing that staying at home is the best and quickest way to get out of this situation? The way we process our emotions is crucial in maintaining our mental health and wellbeing. Numerous studies have shown that the better you are at reframing a negative situation into a positive one, the higher your level of wellbeing. However, what has been missing so far is the neural bases of this association – is the brain activity elicited by emotion linked to wellbeing? New research…

NeuRA Awards and Scholarships 2021

NeuRA would like to congratulate the following students and postdoctoral researchers who received scholarships and Awards in 2021.  These scholarships and awards are only possible through the generosity of our donors who sponsor these awards year on year. Thank you, we are truly grateful.   The Grant Broadcasting Fellowship Dr Claire Shepherd The Michael & Elizabeth Gilbert Postgraduate Award in Parkinson’s Disease Research Lloyd Chan The Michael & Elizabeth Gilbert Postgraduate Award in Parkinson’s Disease Research Derya Dik The Janette Mary O’Neil Research Fellowship Dr Jan Fullerton The Cowled Scholarship for Brain Research Abigail Hansen The Betty Fyfe Scholarship Thanwarat…

An Australian perspective on the aducanumab approval by Professor Peter R Schofield

I should start by saying that this is good news. The approval of the first new therapy for Alzheimer’s disease in almost two decades, and the first treatment directed at one of its underlying pathophysiologies, is a critical milestone. The clinical trials showed a reduction in Aβ plaques leading to an expectation of a reduction in clinical decline. I am optimistic because with this advance there will be the opportunity to generate the critical Phase 4 efficacy data required to convert the accelerated approval into a full approval. And I’m also optimistic because clinical proof of the value of this plaque-reducing…

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…