NeuRA Imaging Centre


NeuRA has made a 3T MRI scanner available for research since 2003. The current scanner is a Philips 3T TX MRI (upgraded May 2010).

The facility currently operates for research 50% of the time and is open for research to scientists on a merit-based, user pays basis. It supports an active MRI research community of researchers from UNSW, The University of Sydney, Macquarie University and The University of Western Sydney as well as researchers from interstate and international sites as required.


Troubleshooting those MRI button boxes

We know those Lumina MRI button boxes can be troublesome when it comes to collecting data during a scan. Make sure you know how to set them up and test them properly before scanning starts by viewing these “How-to” video on our MRI Safety and Methods page.

Collect your MRI data via Hippocampus

We’ve recently launched a new way of grabbing your imaging data after scanning. By logging into the Hippocampus website, you can retrieve your data from any computer up to two weeks after your scan session in DICOM format. Please see Dr Michael Green for more details if you’d like your research group to obtain data via Hippocampus.

New MRI simulator computer

After the upgrade of the software on the MRI scanner, we have had to upgrade our simulator computer (more RAM, faster processor) to run the more complex code. We are in the process of setting the software up on the computer for offline examcard, patch and protocol setup for R 5.1.7.

See what’s going on at NeuRA


'I've got the best job for you dad. Your shaky arm will be perfect for it!'

Children… honest and insightful. Their innocence warms the heart. But what words do you use to explain to a child that daddy has an incurable brain disease? What words tell them that in time he may not be able to play football in the park, let alone feed himself? What words help them understand that in the later stages, dementia may also strike? Aged just 36, this was the reality that faced Steve Hartley. Parkinson's disease didn't care he was a fit, healthy, a young dad and devoted husband. It also didn't seem to care his family had no history of it. The key to defeating Parkinson's disease is early intervention, and thanks to a global research team, led by NeuRA, we're pleased to announce that early intervention may be possible. Your support, alongside national and international foundations Shake it Up Australia and the Michael J Fox Foundation, researchers have discovered that a special protein, found in people with a family history of the disease increases prior to Parkinson’s symptoms developing. This is an incredible step forward, because it means that drug therapies, aimed at blocking the increase in the protein, can be administered much earlier – even before symptoms strike. The next step is to understand when to give the drug therapies and which people will most benefit from it. But we need your help. A gift today will support vital research and in time help medical professionals around the world treat Parkinson’s disease sooner, with much better health outcomes. Thank you, in advance, for your support.  


Characterizing Sexual Behavior in Frontotemporal Dementia.

Ahmed RM, Kaizik C, Irish M, Mioshi E, Dermody N, Kiernan MC, Piguet O, Hodges JR

We aimed to systematically quantify changes in sexual behavior, including current symptoms and changes from prior diagnoses, in behavioral-variant (bvFTD) and semantic dementia (SD), compared to Alzheimer's disease (AD). Overall loss of affection, reduced initiation of sexual activity, and responsiveness is an overwhelming feature of bvFTD. In contrast, aberrant or unusual sexual behavior is observed in the minority of bvFTD patients. The underlying pathophysiology of these changes likely reflects structural and functional changes in frontoinsular and limbic regions including the hypothalamus.

Eating behavior in frontotemporal dementia: Peripheral hormones vs hypothalamic pathology.

Ahmed RM, Latheef S, Bartley L, Irish M, Halliday GM, Kiernan MC, Hodges JR, Piguet O

To contrast the relationships of hormonal eating peptides and hypothalamic volumes to eating behavior and metabolic changes (body mass index [BMI]) in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) and semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA). Eating abnormalities are multifactorial in FTD. In bvFTD, they are in part related to hypothalamic degeneration, with potential disintegration of the network connections between the hypothalamus and orbitofrontal cortex/reward pathways. In svPPA, although hypothalamic volumes are preserved, this group experiences elevated AgRP levels similar to bvFTD, which predicts BMI in both groups. This finding highlights the potential key role of AgRP in eating and metabolic changes and provides a potential target for treatment to modify disease progression.

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