NeuRA Imaging

FACILITY INFORMATION

In July 2019, a new Philips Ingenia 3T Scanner has launched as a full time research instrument at NeuRA in the new Imaging Facility in the Margarete Ainsworth Building. Please access the new Imaging site via the button below.

NEW IMAGING SITE

The information below and any information available via the sub-site menu at the right of the page covers NeuRA’s older research-clinical shared scanner.

NeuRA has made a 3T MRI scanner available for research since 2003. This 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.

LATEST NEWS AND EVENTS

Workshop on Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

A two day course on magnetic resonance spectroscopy will be held at Neuroscience Research Australia, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th of November 2017.

Troubleshooting those MRI button boxes

A two day course on magnetic resonance spectroscopy will be held at Neuroscience Research Australia, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th of November 2017.

Collect your MRI data via Hippocampus

A two day course on magnetic resonance spectroscopy will be held at Neuroscience Research Australia, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th of November 2017.

New MRI simulator computer

A two day course on magnetic resonance spectroscopy will be held at Neuroscience Research Australia, on Tuesday 28th and Wednesday 29th of November 2017.

See what’s going on at NeuRA

FEEL THE BUZZ IN THE AIR? US TOO.

Abdominal muscle stimulation to improve bowel function in spinal cord injury

Bowel complications, resulting from impaired bowel function, are common for people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI). As a result, people with a SCI have high rates of bowel related illness, even compared with those with other neurological disorders. This includes high rates of abdominal pain, constipation, faecal incontinence and bloating. These problems lower the quality of life of people with a SCI and place a financial burden on the health system. A treatment that improves bowel function for people with a SCI should reduce illness, improve quality of life and lead to a large cost saving for health care providers. Bowel problems have traditionally been managed with manual and pharmacological interventions, such as digital rectal stimulation, enemas, and suppositories. These solutions are usually only partially effective, highlighting the need for improved interventions. The abdominal muscles are one of the major muscle groups used during defecation. Training the abdominal muscles should improve bowel function by increasing abdominal pressure. During our previous Abdominal FES research with people with a SCI, we observed that Abdominal FES appeared to lead to more consistent and effective bowel motion. However, this evidence remains anecdotal. As such, we are going to undertake a large randomised controlled trial to investigate the effectiveness of Abdominal FES to improve the bowel function of people with a SCI. This study will make use of a novel measurement system (SmartPill, Medtronic) that can be swallowed to measure whole gut and colonic transit time. We will also assess whether Abdominal FES can change constipation-related quality of life and the use of laxatives and manual procedures, as well as the frequency of defecation and the time taken. A positive outcome from this study is likely to lead to the rapid clinical translation of this technology for people living with a SCI.
PROJECT

PUBLICATIONS

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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