IHMRI Research Program

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Research Spotlight 

Highlighted below are just some of the research projects conducted under the auspices of IHMRI that have been in the spotlight recently.

Synopsis and link to full story

ThemeYear 

Functional foods, herbal medicines and obesity
The potential of functional food molecules and herbal medicines in reversing overweight and obesity is a focus of research activity within IHMRI’s Centre for Translational Neuroscience (CTN), where National Health and Medical Research Council Australia-China Exchange Training Fellow, Dr Yinghua Yu, is pursuing a range of fascinating studies.
 

  

Flavoursome flavonoids under investigation
Flavonoids - consisting of a class of over 8,000 phenolic phytochemicals  - are widespread in human food, especially in fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, grains, spices and beverages such as wine and tea. While the health benefits are already well known, Dr Andrew Jenner is examining the exact human mechanism of dietary flavonoid bioactivity in a group of elderly volunteers.
 

  

Proof: men and women really do think differently
Cognitive deficits have been identified as a core feature of patients with schizophrenia. Understanding these characteristics, which differ based on gender, can point to areas of altered neurobiology. In this study, Dr Mei Han found significant differences in gender, not just in the cohort, but in the control.
 

  

Design and dementia - how a home-like environment can help
Professor Richard Fleming from the UOW-based NSW/ACT Dementia Training Study Centre believes that wellbeing can be significantly enhanced when 10 principles of design are applied in residential aged care facilities.

  

Health study with cherries on top
Initial results from a study looking into the benefits of cherry juice to delay cognitive decline in older adults.  
 

  

Study provides hope in tackling antipsychotic obesity
Antipsychotic medications have significantly improved the lives of people living with serious mental illness but come with a devastating side effect - weight gain, obesity and, in some cases, type 2 diabetes. A new combination of drugs may help.
 

  

Electronic heath records make life easier for care staff
The biggest clinical IT evaluation ever conducted in a residential aged care setting has led a team of researchers to conclude that care staff can benefit greatly from using Electronic Health Record systems.
 

  

Driving and Dementia - helping families make difficult decisions
One of the most difficult conversations health professionals and families have with loved ones experiencing dementia is about the right time to stop driving because the individual poses a risk to themselves and others. A Driving and Dementia Decision Aid booklet  is currently being trialled in the Illawarra to help all those involved come to a timely decision.
 

  

Improving the identification and management of malnutrition in elderly patients
Alarmingly high rates of malnutrition in older patients admitted to both acute care and rehabilitation hospitals were identified by university researchers in 2010. Now researchers are working with clinicians to incorporate nutrition screening into GP practices.
 

  
From bench to bed - NHMRC grant to advance cancer treatment
Major advances in motion adaptive radiotherapy, requires new Quality Assurance tools being developed by diagnostics and therapeutics experts.
 
  

Project Air Strategy
Recently celebrating its first year, the Project Air Strategy has already achieved several milestones on the way to improving the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders.
 

  

Exercise study more than physical
First international study of the effectiveness of Thai-style yoga in helping older people get moving again.
 

  
Chemotherapy with no side effects: A targeted approach
The destruction of cancer cells, utilising the body’s own biological systems, is the focus of Dr Kara Perrow's work. The ultimate aim is to develop drugs with reduced side effects.
 
  
Role of the host fibrinolytic system in invasive Group A Streptococcal disease
Investigating how the Group A strep bacteria hijacks the body's blood coagulation, tissue remodelling and cell migration system in severe infection.
 
  
Research lauded - elderly malnutrition is chewing up the health sector
Older people are among the most vulnerable in our society and evidence suggests that many are becoming malnourished. Attempts by UOW researchers to tackle this billion-dollar problem are showing promising results.
 
  
The shape of things to come 
There are a number of different types of chaperones in the body, their role to ensure that all of the other proteins are of perfect molecular form.
 
  
Personality Disorders Strategy announced
The gaps that mental health and drug and alcohol clinicians have in their knowledge, skills and resources to address the treatment of personality disorders has seen IHMRI researchers win a three-year, $2.5 million competitive tender to align services for the NSW Department of Health.
 
  
REACH Out in Dementia
Dementia is one of the fastest growing sources of major disease burden in Australia and will overtake coronary heart disease in its total wellbeing cost by 2023. 
 
  

 

 

 

Last reviewed: 4 February, 2013