Clinical trials at the Balance and Vision lab

The Balance and Vision lab at NeuRA is leading the way forward in clinical research that aims to help people with dizziness disorders. The team is led by Associate Prof Americo Migliaccio, and comprises senior researchers, PhD students, biomedical engineers, and clinicians.

The most exciting project currently underway is the clinical trial of a novel vestibular rehabilitation device aimed at restoring vestibular function in patients with incomplete vestibular nerve or vestibular organ damage caused, for example, by infection and tumours. The project, undertaken by PhD student Carlo Rinaudo, is recruiting people who have isolated peripheral vestibular nerve or organ damage, and subsequently are suffering from dizziness, vertigo and poor balance.

The lab has invested heavily in developing hardware and software technologies to accurately test various aspects of vestibular function. Each participant commences the study by being extensively assessed, which includes a:

  • standardised questionnaire;
  • balance test on 3 complimentary systems, including computerised posturography, inertial sensors and video capturing software;
  • gait and walking assessment with complimentary systems, including a sensor mat, inertial sensors and a standardised scoring system;
  • assessing the vestibular-ocular reflex (VOR), again using complimentary tests, including the dynamic visual acuity test, a commercially available video head impulse test, and the gold standard ‘scleral search coils’ head impulse test. The VOR is our main vision stabilising system during rapid head movement and is often considered the most debilitating aspect of vestibular functional loss.

Each patient is randomised to a treatment group and participates in 15 minutes of daily training with the vestibular rehabilitation device, developed and patented at the Balance and Vision lab at NeuRA with collaborators from John’s Hopkins University (Associate Prof Michael Schubert, Baltimore, USA). Patients have their balance, gait and VOR re-evaluated following 1 week of training as part of the short term study. Additionally, a long term study looks at the effects of daily training with monthly re-assessments. The long term study allows us to observe the effects of long term training on the VOR as well as quality of life, balance and walking.

If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating in this clinic trial, contact Carlo Rinaudo on c.rinaudo@neura.edu.au for further details and eligibility.

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Carlo Rinaudo: PhD Candidate, Balance & Vision Lab

 

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