Using DTI to understand muscle contracture in children with Cerebral Palsy

A new study by Prof Rob Herbert and his team is investigating muscle contracture in children with cerebral palsy. Contracture is a stiffening of muscles, even when the muscle is passive. It is not yet known whether contracture is a result of changes in the muscle, changes in the associated tendon, or a combination of both. Around 53 per cent […]

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Remapping the body

A stroke patient struggles to open a door. An amputee is frustrated at the erratic movements of his new prosthetic limb. And a healthy young individual is disappointed with how her body looks in the mirror. These troubles can stem from disruptions to the brain’s maps of the body; a problem observed in a whole host of other conditions. We currently […]

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Is there a link between early life trauma and mental illness?

Epigenetics is the study of how our environment influences the expression of our genes. My group has found a link between early life experiences and attention. Exposure to traumatic experiences in the early stages of life, including abuse or neglect, parental divorce or mental illness, and poverty, are known to influence the development of some mental illnesses. These early experiences also […]

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Eating behaviours and FTD

Understanding what causes the changes in eating behaviours in people with frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis could potentially improve disease prognoses and progression. Metabolic changes including fluctuations in weight, insulin resistance, and cholesterol levels have been identified in both amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). I am exploring whether these metabolic changes are related and how they might […]

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Genes may determine how well bipolar treatment works

The discovery of genetic markers that determine how well a patient responds to lithium may change how bipolar disorder is treated. Lithium is the most commonly prescribed mood stabilising drug used for the treatment for bipolar disorder. However, it only works effectively in about a third of patients. Another third do partially well when prescribed lithium and the remaining third […]

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When palpation isn’t enough: understanding soft tissue changes in children

When human tissue, such as muscles or some organs, are affected by disease, they can become stiffer (or softer) than surrounding muscle tissue. Traditionally, medical practitioners have used the palpation technique – using their hands to determine the firmness of tissue, for instance around the abdomen – to feel for changes in tissue stiffness in order to diagnose illness or […]

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How GPs can screen for depression or a decrease in cognition in their HIV+ patients

December 1 is World AIDS day. 37 million are living with this treatable and preventable disease. Dr Lucette Cysique researches the chronic effects of HIV on brain functions.   In Australia, general physicians (GPs) with high HIV-patient caseloads have played a crucial role in curbing the HIV epidemic. They continue to play a key role in maintaining HIV patients’ health with […]

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