Dr Jasmine Menant

TEAM LEADER PROFILE

Research Fellow Conjoint Lecturer, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, UNSW Medicine

+612 9399 1267


Jasmine has a background in exercise science and gained a PhD in applied physiology/biomechanics from the University of New South Wales in 2008. In addition to conducting mechanistic studies of gait and balance, Jasmine has also been coordinating several prospective falls risk cohort studies of older adults and a large NHMRC-funded randomised controlled trial of multifaceted interventions to improve dizziness symptoms in older adults.

Her research interests are threefold:

  1. to investigate sensory, cognitive and neuromuscular factors contributing to postural stability, stepping and gait in aging and clinical populations (neurodevelopmental disorders, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy…);
  2. to understand risk factors for falls in older people and clinical groups
  3. to determine the effects of exercise interventions on falls and other health outcomes in ageing and clinical groups.
Projects Dr Jasmine Menant is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

Mechanistic studies investigating the role of visuo-spatial working memory in balance and gait contr

There is emerging evidence that visuo-spatial processing is involved in balance control during gait. Importantly, visuo-spatial processing may be key for fall avoidance as it enables one to precisely remember the position and physical characteristics of upcoming hazards; an essential skill for the safe navigation of everyday environments. Yet, investigations of visuospatial processing use for obstacle avoidance have been restricted to animal studies and young adults. No studies have been undertaken in older people or people with Parkinson’s Disease for whom visuo-spatial processing deficits are evident and associated with impaired postural control.

This series of studies will investigate visuo-spatial processing required for obstacle avoidance and navigation in older people, older people at high risk of falls and people with Parkinson’s Disease. We will use motion capture to investigate behavioural outcomes and a freely-worn brain imaging device, functional near-infrared spectroscopy to study cortical activation in regions of interest. We will conduct two experiments one involving an obstacle crossing task and another, a stepping task.

We hypothesize that older age, Parkinson’s Disease and increasing task complexity will result in increased risk of tripping and impaired visuo-motor performance, in the obstacle crossing task and in the stepping task, respectively.

This research will greatly improve our understanding of central mechanisms for fall risk and build on our recent behavioural work in this area.

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Mechanistic studies investigating the role of visuo-spatial working memory in balance and gait control in ageing, fall risk and Parkinson’s Disease

Exercise rehabilitation for cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: Impact

Prof David Goldstein (UNSW), Dr Susanna Park (U Sydney), Dr Matt McCrary (UNSW), Dr Jasmine Menant, Dr Carole Harris (UNSW), A/Prof David Simar (UNSW)

This randomised-controlled trial led by Professor David Goldstein (Director of the Translational Cancer Research Network, UNSW) and Dr Susanna Park (U Sydney) and funded by a CAG Seed Grant from UNSW, aims to investigate the benefits and mechanisms of exercise rehabilitation in people with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and encompasses physical function assessments, nerve function studies, animal models and quality of life surveys.

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy is a common and distressing complication in cancer survivors, leading to reduced quality of life, gait and balance deficits, and increased fall risk. No recommended treatment options for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy currently exist, although there is emerging evidence demonstrating that exercise may be an effective rehabilitation strategy to improve function and reduce symptom burden in chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

The clinical component of the trial aims to investigate the effects of an 8-week exercise (balance, resistance, aerobic) program (versus usual care) on balance and gait in cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy first undertake a comprehensive assessment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy symptoms, patients’ motor function and neurophysiologic parameters. They are then randomly allocated to one of two groups: an 8-week exercise intervention or usual care. Participants are re-assessed immediately following the intervention as well as 6 months later to assess the durability of effects of the intervention.

We hypothesize that the exercise intervention will lead to significant improvements in functional mobility, balance, and gait. Findings from this randomised-controlled trials will determine the merits of exercise as a treatment for cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and provide a basis for future

optimisation of exercise treatment for implementation in clinical practice.

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Exercise rehabilitation for cancer survivors with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy: Impact and mechanisms

Muscle contributions to gait pattern in in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Miss Angeliki Stivactas (Masters student UNSW), Dr Phu Hoang, Prof Stephen Lord, Dr Jasmine Menant

Gait dysfunction in Mulitple Sclerosis is an important risk factor for falls. Although there is detailed biomechanical evidence of impaired gait patterns in people with Multiple Sclerosis, there is a paucity of objective empirical data relating specific lower limb muscle strength deficits and gait impairments. Most studies to date have used manual muscle testing to investigate lower limb muscle strength and/or have only focused on knee flexors and extensors.

In this study, we aim to identify weak lower limb muscles contributing to gait impairment in Multiple Sclerosis.

Our experimental protocol involves a comprehensive assessment of isometric strength in eight major lower limb muscle groups using electronic strain gauges. We then conduct a full lower-limb gait analysis using motion capture and force platforms. We will conduct statistical analyses to determine which weak muscle groups are significantly associated with markers of gait impairment in Multiple Sclerosis (eg. knee range of motion during the gait cycle). We are also planning to use electromyography on the identified deficient muscle groups in a subset of participants.

Our research will identify the muscle groups contributing to poor gait, likely causing imbalance and trips in people with Multiple Sclerosis. This work is crucial for developing progressive resistance training programs that directly target weak muscle groups to improve gait in people with Multiple Sclerosis.

 

 

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Muscle contributions to gait pattern in in people with Multiple Sclerosis

Treating dizziness in older people

Despite effective treatments being available, up to 40% of older people with reported dizziness remain undiagnosed and untreated. A multidisciplinary assessment battery, with new validated assessments of vestibular impairments is required for diagnosing and treating older people with dizziness. This project will therefore aim to conduct a randomised-control trial of a multifaceted dizziness intervention based on a multidisciplinary assessment, and develop a multiple profile assessment of dizziness for use in Specialist Clinics.

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Treating dizziness in older people

Training to prevent falls in older people

To date, no studies have examined the potential for cognitive or cognitive-motor training to prevent falls in older people, despite good evidence of fall-related cognitive and physical improvements following both intervention types. Building on our initial work, we have developed and validated a home-based computerised training intervention that can be delivered identically, either while seated (cognitive) or while standing and undertaking balance exercises (cognitive+motor). Our project will also uncover cognitive-motor interactions and their neural pathways related to falls, via state-of-the-art imaging techniques that measure brain structure and functional changes. This intervention addresses both physical and cognitive fall risk factors. It holds promise for a cost-effective fall prevention strategy with multiple health benefits for older people.

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A RCT of cognitive-only and cognitive-motor training to prevent falls in older people

Interactive step training to reduce falls in people with MS

More than 50% of people with multiple sclerosis will fall over a 3 month period. A clinical trial is being conducted in 500 people with multiple sclerosis who have difficulties with mobility and balance. We hope results of this study will provide solid scientific evidence to include in fall management programs for people with this condition.

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An interactive step training RCT to reduce falls in people with Multiple Sclerosis

SAFE-PD (Stepping to avoid falls events in people with Parkinson’s disease)

A randomised controlled trial to reduce the risk of falling in people with Parkinson’s disease.

View the clinical trial page for more information and to express interest in volunteering for the study.

 

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SAFE-PD (Stepping to avoid falls events in people with Parkinson’s disease)

A RCT of cognitive-only and cognitive-motor training to prevent falls in older people

Dr Daina Sturnieks, Prof Stephen Lord, Dr  Jasmine Menant, Associate Professor Kim Delbaere, Prof Michael Valenzuela

This study aims to investigate the benefits of balance training and brain training on physical functions (balance and mobility), cognitive functions, general health and accidental fall events in people aged 65+ years.

The smartstep training system has been designed to enable you to undertake training in your own home, by playing engaging and enjoyable computer games. The system connects to a TV or computer monitor. The games are played with either a step mat (Figure 1) or a touch pad (Figure 2). These games have been designed to train important balance and cognitive functions, while also being fun. You may recognise some of the games, such as Space Invaders and Tetris (Figure 3).

READ MORE

A RCT of cognitive-only and cognitive-motor training to prevent falls in older people

RESEARCH TEAM

LINDA ROYLANCE Executive Assistant : +612 9399 1124
: l.roylance@neura.edu.au

DINAZ PAREKH Research Assistant : d.parekh@neura.edu.au

Jessica Turner

JESSICA TURNER Research Assistant

JOANNE LO Research Assistant

CAMERON HICKS Research Assistant : 9399 1209
: c.hicks@neura.edu.au

DANIELA MEINRATH Masters student

Joana Caetano

JOANA CAETANO PhD student

Mayna Ratanapongleka

MAYNA RATANAPONGLEKA Research Assistant

PUBLICATIONS

Gait, balance, and falls in Huntington disease.

Vuong K, Canning CG, Menant JC, Loy CT

Reducing the burden of dizziness in middle-aged and older people: A multifactorial, tailored, single-blind randomized controlled trial.

Menant JC, Migliaccio AA, Sturnieks DL, Hicks C, Lo J, Ratanapongleka M, Turner J, Delbaere K, Titov N, Meinrath D, McVeigh C, Close JCT, Lord SR

A multifactorial tailored approach for treating dizziness was effective in reducing dizziness handicap in community-living people aged 50 years and older. No difference was seen on the other primary outcomes. Our findings therefore support the implementation of individualized, multifaceted evidence-based therapies to reduce self-perceived disability associated with dizziness in middle-aged and older people.

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