Dr Jasmine Menant


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


Cortical activity during balance tasks in ageing and clinical groups using functional near-infrared

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:

  • How do age and/or disease- associated declines in cognitive functions affect balance control?
  • How is this further impacted by psychological, physiological and medical factors (eg. fear, pain, medications)?
  • How does the brain control these balance tasks?




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).



  • Cortical activity during stepping and gait adaptability tasks
  • Effects of age, posture and task condition on cortical activity during reaction time tasks
  • Influence of balance challenge and concern about falling on brain activity during walking
  • Influence of lower limb pain/discomfort on brain activity during stepping


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.


Cortical activity during balance tasks in ageing and clinical groups using functional near-infrared spectroscopy

SafeTrip – step training to reduce falls in older adults





The Falls, Balance & Injury Research Centre are looking for volunteers for other studies like the ReacStep Study


The SafeTrip study is investigating how older adults learn protective stepping skills to avoid falls when encountering trips and slips. With NeuRA’s cutting-edge motion capture system and other wearable devices, we will be able to observe and analyse movement and muscle activity during reactive or proactive step training.


The SafeTrip team are looking for volunteers aged 65 years and over who:

  • have not been advised by a medical practitioner to not exercise
  • have no existing conditions that may prevent them from exercising (e.g. severe pain, heel ulcers, exercise intolerance, fatigue, etc.)
  • have no neurological conditions (e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Dementia, etc.)
  • have no history of lower limb, pelvis or vertebral fracture(s) or joint replacement(s) in the past 6 months
  • can walk 500m comfortably without mobility aids or rest
  • are active (i.e. exercising for at least 60mins/week) and living independently in the Sydney metropolitan community
  • are not currently participating in any other falls prevention research studies


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 the reactive balance training (i.e. 3 weekly training sessions followed by 3-monthly retraining sessions). All participants will receive a fall prevention information booklet and will be invited back for a 12-month re-assessment.


Register your interest or contact the SafeTrip team on 02 9399 1067 or safetrip-study@neura.edu.au for more information. HC190952




SafeTrip – step training to reduce falls in older adults

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.


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.


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

Muscle contributions to gait pattern in in people with Multiple Sclerosis

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. 


Muscle contributions to gait pattern in in people with Multiple Sclerosis

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.


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.


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.



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).


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


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


Mayna Ratanapongleka



Discriminative ability and predictive validity of the timed up and go test in identifying older people who fall: systematic review and meta-analysis.

Schoene D, Wu SM, Mikolaizak AS, Menant JC, Smith ST, Delbaere K, Lord SR

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.

Gait, balance, and falls in Huntington disease.

Vuong K, Canning CG, Menant JC, Loy CT
View all publications