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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Winter 2021

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MSWA Volunteer Luncheon | Our new respiratory | Physiotherapy service | Our m contribution to research | Pain and pain management series

RESEARCH OUR RECORD

RESEARCH OUR RECORD CONTRIBUTION OF M KEY PROJECTS SUMMARY As part of this year’s record-breaking million contribution, we are continuing to support projects we already fund, but we have new studies and trials that have exciting implications for neurological research. CURTIN UNIVERSITY Our partnership with Curtin University is growing. Associate Professor Lucinda Black is leading a team investigating diet and MS alongside goals including the development of education resources and rigorous protocols for diet-related clinical trials. Diet is also being considered by Clinical Professor John Mamo at CHIRI, an Institute within Curtin, who is heading a clinical intervention for MS utilising a high-fat diet to achieve remyelination in a unique trial. Additionally, Professor Mamo and his team are looking at the effect to ageing and developing neurodegenerative diseases, linking lifestyle factors of Parkinson’s, Motor Neurone disease, Huntington’s disease and MS. This is linked to a novel trial that has promise for new treatments for Alzheimer’s by repurposing a drug used previously for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Associate Professor Anne Whitworth is leading an exciting new project to support long-term rehabilitation of communication skills after stroke. Her team will be developing an interactive app to complement speech therapy interventions. The aim of the project is to improve functional language and cognitive skills by designing an approach that can be done freely at home to complement structured sessions. Additionally, there will have an evaluation trial to demonstrate the benefits, where findings could also hold value for other neurological conditions. EDITH COWAN UNIVERSITY The research portfolio we support at ECU is expanding. Translating research into practice, the multidisciplinary team in the Systematic Profiling in Neurological Conditions trial, led by Professor Moira Sim, are identifying markers in individuals that will assist with developing, delivering and evaluating more targeted therapeutic interventions for stroke, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and MS. Specific interventions include light therapy glasses promoting more effective sleep and reducing fatigue and the MindPod exoskeleton for upper limb rehabilitation. Associate Professor Lucinda Black & Professor John Mamo (Curtin University). WE ARE 10 MILLION STEPS CLOSER TO FINDING THE CAUSES, BETTER TREATMENTS, AND EVEN A CURE FOR NEUROLOGICAL CONDITIONS. WE HAVE 10 MILLION REASONS TO GIVE PEOPLE HOPE. BECAUSE THIS YEAR, MSWA IS INVESTING A RECORD-BREAKING MILLION INTO NEUROLOGICAL RESEARCH. 10

Associate Professor Jenny Rodger (middle) (The Perron Institute). TELETHON KIDS Professor Moira Sim and Keith Rappa (Edith Cowan University). THE PERRON INSTITUTE Clinical Professor Allan Kermode is leading a team to examine biomarkers, neurofilaments, disease trajectory, and evaluating brain lesions in the MS Demyelinating Diseases group. Professor Kermode is also a key MS researcher and contributing data to a national and international data research registry for MS. Associate Professor Jenny Rodger is continuing her research into neuroplasticity as it heads into human clinical trials using transcranial magnets in stroke, MS and more. Stroke is also the focus for Adjunct Professor Bruno Meloni and Clinical Professor Neville Knuckey who are developing a neuroprotective agent. Research into MND, Parkinson’s and other conditions continues for Professor Sulev Koks. Trajectories of Outcome in Neurological Conditions (TONiC) continues to gain traction with the possibility of opening research to Parkinson’s Disease and MS. Professor Koks is teaming with Professor Anthony Akkari to investigate the possibilities of genomic medicine. The two are seeking to identify genes that have predisposition for developing neuro conditions like MND, and attempting to find therapies to block the gene, reduce risk and improve outcomes. Parkinson’s and gut bacteria (the microbiome) are partnered again through Dr Luke Whiley’s study to correlate changes in cognitive and motor-related inflammation. Finally, Dr Jonaton Leffler based at the Telethon Kids Institute, and under the purview of Professor Prue Hart, is further analysing samples from the PhoCIS biobank to identify MS pathogenesis by examining antigens through innovative methods. Specifically, he will be examining female predispositions through cell dysfunctions, and pathogenic and autoimmune mechanisms. MS RESEARCH AUSTRALIA AND THE INTERNATIONAL PROGRESSIVE MS ALLIANCE Once again MSRA is receiving allocations for MS research in Australia with million to be allocated to the International Progressive MS Alliance. More details about these will be announced in due course. READ MORE For more information about MSWA’s commitment to research and the research projects we are currently funding, visit our website: mswa.org.au/news-research/ commitment-to-research 11

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