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:
Prof Stephen Lord, Dr Jasmine Menant
Walking is not automatic and requires attention and brain processing to maintain balance and prevent falling over. Brain structure and function deteriorate with ageing and neurodegenerative disorders, in turn impacting both cognitive and motor functions.
This series of studies will investigate:
The experiments involve experimental paradigms that challenge cognitive functions of interest (eg.visuo-spatial working memory, inhibitory function). I use functional near-infrared spectroscopy to study activation in superficial cortical regions of interest (eg. prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area…). The studies involve young and older people as well as clinical groups (eg.Parkinson’s disease).
This research will greatly improve our understanding of the interactions between brain capacity, functions and balance control across ageing and diseases, psychological, physiological and medical factors, allows to identify targets for rehabilitation.
It will also help identifying whether exercise-based interventions improve neural efficiency for enhanced balance control.
The SafeTrip study will to investigate how older adults learn protective stepping skills to avoid falls when encountering obstacles, trips and slips. With NeuRA’s cutting-edge motion capture system and other wearable devices, the SafeTrip team will be able to observe and analyse movement and muscle activity during reactive or proactive step training.
The SafeTrip team are looking for older volunteers aged 65 years and over who:
Eligible volunteers will be invited to NeuRA for some baseline assessments before being randomly allocated to either the intervention or control group. Only the intervention group will undertake 3 weekly reactive balance training sessions followed by 3-monthly retraining sessions, while the control group assume their usual activity. All participants will receive a fall prevention information booklet and will be invited back to NeuRA for a 12-month re-assessment.
For more information or to get involved, please contact the SafeTrip team on 02 9399 1067 or firstname.lastname@example.org. HC190952
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.
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.
Prof Stephen Lord, Dr Phu Hoang, 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.
A randomised controlled trial to reduce the risk of falling in people with Parkinson’s disease.
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).
: +612 9399 1124
JESSICA TURNER Research Assistant
JOANNE LO Research Assistant
: 9399 1209
DANIELA MEINRATH Masters student
JOANA CAETANO PhD student
MAYNA RATANAPONGLEKA Research Assistant
To investigate the discriminative ability and diagnostic accuracy of the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG) as a clinical screening instrument for identifying older people at risk of falling. The findings suggest that the TUG is not useful for discriminating fallers from non-fallers in healthy, high-functioning older people but is of more value in less-healthy, lower-functioning older people. Overall, the predictive ability and diagnostic accuracy of the TUG are at best moderate. No cut-point can be recommended. Quick, multifactorial fall risk screens should be considered to provide additional information for identifying older people at risk of falls.