‘Exergaming’ – The new way for older Australians to keep fit

Insufficient levels of physical activity in adult Australians are increasing. In 2007 and 2008, approximately 62% of adults did not meet recommended ‘moderate’ physical activity guidelines.

Strength, mobility, aerobic capacity, energy, anxiety, depression and reduction in fall risk in older populations have been shown to improve following increased physical activity interventions. Additionally, there are recently published findings suggesting high levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

Busy bee visits NeuRA

Australia’s brainiest teen shows off her trophy

NeuRA was lucky enough to host one of Australia’s brainiest teenagers, Uma Jha, when she visited last week for a work experience placement.

At just 14, the Perth native beat 3000 hopefuls to become the champion of the 2009 Australian ‘Brain Bee’; a neuroscience competition. As the sole representative of Australia, Uma continued to the international Brain Bee championships in San Diego and came head-to-head with students and high-school graduates as old as 18 from seven different countries.

“It was pretty incredible to be representing Australia. It was just good to be there,” she says. Continue reading

Emotional control circuitry and schizophrenia

In addition to the ‘classic’ symptoms of psychosis which include delusions and hallucinations, people with schizophrenia often have problems with ‘executive functions’. This is a cognitive system that resides predominantly in the frontal lobes and regulates other cognitive processes. It is typically invoked when automatic processes need to be overruled to produce appropriate goal-directed behaviour. Another domain that is often affected in schizophrenia is emotional processing. Continue reading

Musical cognition: the demise of ‘left-brain right-brain’?

When looking at a human face we take it for granted that we can distinguish a happy face from a sad face and a scary face from a relaxed face. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias often exhibit deficits in this area, and while this is interesting from a cognitive perspective, it has real world implications for the families of people with these diseases. Continue reading