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NeuRA is established as an independent not-for-profit company. The Board of NeuRA are all honorary members and include nominees of the Area Health Service, the University of New South Wales, the National Health and Medical Research Council and the NSW Minister for Health as well as a majority of independent directors.

Community support is what enables NeuRA to remain at the forefront of neuroscience research. NeuRA has about 12,000 supporters on its database. In 2010 more than 3,500 people indicated that they would participate in clinical research at NeuRA. We currently have about 2000 active research volunteers participating in a range of studies. The diseases and disorders we focus on touch the lives of almost everyone in some way. The personal, health care and economic cost benefits of the research performed at NeuRA is immeasurable.

NeuRA is one of the largest centres of research on the brain and nervous system in Australia. NeuRA’s vision is to prevent and cure disease and disability of the brain and nervous system through leadership, excellence and innovation in neuroscience research. The neuroscience research undertaken at NeuRA is focused on understanding both basic aspects of brain and nervous system function and translation and application of this research into outcomes that will aid in the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of disorders of the brain and nervous system. To support this goal the research programs of NeuRA are arranged into the following five research themes: Ageing and Neurodegeneration, Brain Structure and Function, Mental illness, Neural Injury, and Sensation, Movement, Balance and Falls.

As a not-for-profit organisation, NeuRA is funded by a combination of government grants and private donations. A considerable part of our research is supported through competitive external grant funding from a number of national and international organisations including the National Health and Medical Research Council and the Australian Research Council. In 2010, our researchers held a total of 157 grants, fellowships, scholarships and awards totalling $12.84 million.

Control of balance is vital to everyday life. Our research aims to enhance understanding of human balance and involves investigations of sensory and motor contributions, behavioural influences, environmental factors, as well as clinical populations and settings. Current studies are designed to investigate the physiology and biomechanics of standing, walking and stepping reactions. Fall risk factors and strategies for prevention of falls in different populations are being systematically examined in large-scale studies.


Role in the consortium:

Due to its 20-year experiences in fall prevention and prediction, NeuRA will be an important partner to define specific contents and rules for the overall system, and especially for the KBS. In addition, NeuRA will contribute with its knowledge on clinical aspects in fall prevention, and thus will be a good partner in our consortium in order to contribute to these issues (DSHS activities will focus on exercise programs, and associated issues). Due to its comprehensive experiences in carrying out clinical studies, NeuRA will head our main evaluation study in general, and in detail of course the Australian Cohorts of the trial. Together with DSHS Cologne, NeuRA will adapt respective exercise programs. Furthermore, NeuRA will carry out some specific scientific research (eg. QoL aspects & questionnaires), which will be used in the European Cohorts of the main evaluation trial as well.


Key Personnel:

Stephen Lord
Professor Stephen Lord is a Senior Principal Research Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia in Sydney, Australia (NeuRA). Over the last 20 years, he has worked in the areas of applied physiology, instability, falls and fractures in older people. Professor Lord's research on falls has followed two main themes: the identification of risk factors and the evaluation of prevention strategies. His studies have involved large prospective population studies and randomized controlled trials for assessing the effectiveness of exercise and targeted programs in improving vision, strength, balance and co-ordination and preventing falls in community dwelling people and residents of retirement villages. His methodology and approach to falls-risk assessment has been adopted by many researchers across the world.

Stuart Smith
Dr Stuart Smith is an NHMRC Career Development Award-Industry researcher with a particular interest in the application of technologies such as video games and the internet for home-based monitoring of health. He was involved in establishing the Technology Research for Independent Living Centre in Ireland which developed technologies to monitor the health of older adults to facilitate their continued independent and healthy living. He currently chairs the working group on Games for Health within the Health Informatics Society of Australia, whose aim is to develop games that are appropriate for patient rehabilitation. Dr Smith has secured NHMRC funding to develop video games for reducing fall risk in older adults. Recently Dr Smith contributed to a successful bid for funding from the Federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to build video games that are specifically targeted at health.

Kim Delbaere
Dr Delbaere completed a PhD fellowship at the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Physio­therapy at the Ghent University (Belgium) on Falls in the community-dwelling elderly - prediction and prevention. Dr Delbaere has worked in Sydney (Australia) as a postdoctoral fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia since 2006. Throughout her research activities, she has gained extensive knowledge of risk factors for falls and mobility impairments in older people and is well-known for her expertise in study design and statistical analyses. She has conducted several large projects that have incorporated prospective cohort studies, pragmatic intervention trials and projects aimed specifically at implementing research findings into policy and practice.

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iStoppFalls Subgroup Analysis Paper Published

10. July 2017:    Data from the iStoppFalls subgroup analysis have been published in the International Journal of Human Computer Studies (IJHCS), which is available here: Analysis of...  more ›

iStoppFalls Gait Analysis Paper Published

31. March 2017:    Data from the iStoppFalls gait analysis have been published in the International Journal of Geriatric Gerontology, which is available here: Comparison between...  more ›