Dr Jasmine Menant

RESEARCHER PROFILE

Senior Research Officer 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. Her research interests are twofold: (i) understanding risk factors for falls in older people and clinical groups (Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis), and: (ii) investigating sensory, cognitive and neuromuscular factors contributing to postural stability, stepping and gait in aging and clinical populations (Parkinson’s disease, neurodevelopmental disorders).

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.

Projects Dr Jasmine Menant is currently involved with

CURRENT PROJECTS

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

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

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).

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

Everyday fatigue and fall risk in older people

This study will determine whether a busy day of physical activity (‘real world’ fatigue) impacts balance and mobility measures in older people. It will determine the importance of fatigue as a fall risk factor in older people, and provide significant information with respect to the value of mitigating fatigue as a fall prevention strategy.

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Everyday fatigue and fall risk in older people

RESEARCH TEAM

Vicki Smith

VICKY SMITH Executive Assistant

Jessica Turner

JESSICA TURNER Research Assistant

JOANNE LO Research Assistant

Cameron Hicks

CAMERON HICKS Research Assistant

Esther Vance

DR ESTHER VANCE Senior Research Assistant

DANIELA MEINRATH Masters student

DR YOSHIRO OKUBO

Joana Caetano

JOANA CAETANO PhD student

Mayna Ratanapongleka

MAYNA RATANAPONGLEKA Research Assistant

Cathie Sherrington

PROF CATHIE SHERRINGTON Senior research officer

PUBLICATIONS

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.

Gravity Cues Embedded in the Kinematics of Human Motion Are Detected in Form-from-Motion Areas of the Visual System and in Motor-Related Areas.

Cignetti F, Chabeauti PY, Menant J, Anton JJJ, Schmitz C, Vaugoyeau M, Assaiante C

The present study investigated the cortical areas engaged in the perception of graviceptive information embedded in biological motion (BM). To this end, functional magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess the cortical areas active during the observation of human movements performed under normogravity and microgravity (parabolic flight). Movements were defined by motion cues alone using point-light displays. We found that gravity modulated the activation of a restricted set of regions of the network subtending BM perception, including form-from-motion areas of the visual system (kinetic occipital region, lingual gyrus, cuneus) and motor-related areas (primary motor and somatosensory cortices). These findings suggest that compliance of observed movements with normal gravity was carried out by mapping them onto the observer's motor system and by extracting their overall form from local motion of the moving light points. We propose that judgment on graviceptive information embedded in BM can be established based on motor resonance and visual familiarity mechanisms and not necessarily by accessing the internal model of gravitational motion stored in the vestibular cortex.

Home-based step training using videogame technology in people with Parkinson's disease: a single-blinded randomised controlled trial.

Song J, Paul SS, Caetano MJD, Smith S, Dibble LE, Love R, Schoene D, Menant JC, Sherrington C, Lord SR, Canning CG, Allen NE

To determine whether 12-week home-based exergame step training can improve stepping performance, gait and complementary physical and neuropsychological measures associated with falls in Parkinson's disease. Overall, home-based exergame step training was not effective in improving the outcomes assessed. However, the improved physical function in the lower disease severity intervention participants as well as the self-reported improved mobility in the intervention group suggest home-based exergame step training may have benefits for some people with Parkinson's disease.

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