NeuRA Imaging

FACILITY INFORMATION

Access to MRI Scanner
If you have a new project that needs discussion, or you haven’t yet used the system, we suggest first contacting either the Senior Radiographer or Professor Caroline Rae in the first instance.

Apply for clearance for your project from the NeuRA Imaging Scientific Management Panel by downloading this form and submitting this to Bronwyn Chapman (b.chapman@neura.edu.au) for SMP review.

This process will generally only take one to two weeks as projects are reviewed as soon as practicable after receipt.

Scanning cannot proceed without appropriate research ethics clearances. See our ethics page for information.

Once you have SMP clearance and have agreed to our terms & conditions you may book scanning time by calling MRI reception on 93991200. If your scanning involves using the scanner under the National Imaging Facility, you may also apply to the NIF for subsidized access.

All users of the facility are required to attend the MRI Safety Induction Course before using the MRI scanner. Users must attend the course to enter the MRI control room.

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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