Masthead of U3A Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia: gateway to new learning experiences

Research Requests

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Huntington's Disease and Gut Health

Gut bacteria and cognition

Role of Music in Depression


Exosome Study

Vision tests

Mild Cognitive Disfunction

Memory Training

Healthcare testing

Alzheimers TMS

Huntington's disease & apathy

Fear of Incontinence

Survey on Quality of Life

Huntington's Disease and Gut Health

Why is the gut important in Ageing & Huntington’s Disease? The gut is getting a lot of attention by scientists and doctors. Surprisingly, it’s now known that the gut and brain interact extensively. The gut is known to affect mood, thinking abilities, and overall quality of life. How the gut affects mood and cognition in older adults and people with Huntingtin’s disease is not known yet.

How am I investigating gut/brain health? In my research, I am measuring bacteria inside the gut, and then testing probiotics as a treatment to improve thinking abilities, mood and quality of life.

What will we learn from this research? This will be the first clinical study to investigate the gut in Huntington’s disease compared to older adults. By understanding its role in HD, we hope to find out whether the gut could be a potential target for treatment of neurodegenerative conditions.

Who is eligible?

 Men and women, 18 - 65 years old.
 People with a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease.
 People without a diagnosis of Huntington’s disease.
 No diagnosis of Coeliac’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diabetes, or Crohn’s disease
 No allergies to yeast.
 You have not taken oral antibiotics in the past 2 months.
 No history of traumatic brain injury.

What will you need to do?
 Fill in a short screening form to make sure you are eligible for the study
 Take either probiotic or placebo tablets for 6 weeks.
 Come in to Monash University Clayton for two 1.5 hour sessions to fill in some questionnaires, and complete some computerised tasks.
 Provide two stool samples (equipment provided; so we can measure your gut levels).

Where will you need to go? You will need to meet with me face-to-face for two 1.5-hour testing sessions at Monash University Clayton Campus. You will be reimbursed for your time for both sessions.

Ethics Approval: Monash University

For more information and contact details download a flyer here.

28 Sep 2019

Gut bacteria and cognition

Have you ever heard about the influence our gut bacteria can have on our health?

Would you be interested to learn more about your own gut bacteria?

A Deakin researcher islooking for healthy individuals between the ages of 18-35 and 50-75, to participate in research involving gut bacteria composition, and how it relates to your thinking ability.

This study involves:
• Attending one testing session at Deakin University (Approx. 2.5 hours)
• Wearing physical activity monitors to record your activity and sleep patterns
• Assessment of the composition of your gut bacteria

As a thank you for participating in the research, participants will be given a $25 gift card.

For more information and contact details download a flyer here.

23 Aug 2019

Role of music in treating depression

Swinburne is currently inviting men and woman who are 65 years and over and who are experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or distress to participate in a research study to learn more about the role and value of music in reminiscence therapy to improve later-life wellbeing. We hope the findings of this study may help us to improve wellbeing programs in such individuals.

You are invited to participate if you are:
• 65 years or over
• Are currently experiencing stress, anxiety, depression or other psychological distress
• Can speak English fluently
• Have no cognitive impairment or formal diagnosis of dementia.

Participants will be offered $30 in compensation for time and travel costs, and may be offered snacks and refreshments.

For more information and contact details download a flyer here.

5 Aug 2019


Volunteers with knee pain are wanted for a new research project conducted by the Department of Physiotherapy at The University of Melbourne.

They are comparing the effects of different types of footwear on knee pain symptoms. Participants will be asked to choose two pairs of different shoes to wear daily for a total of six months.

If eligible, you will receive two pairs of shoes at no cost!

To take part you must:
• Be aged over 50 years
• Have had knee pain on most days of the past month
• Be able to wear shoes of normal width
• Not ever had a knee or hip replacement on either side
• Not suffer from rheumatoid arthritis

For further info, contact:

Penny Campbell e. ph. 03 9035 5702
Or register your details:

20 June 2019

Exosome Study

This is a research study aimed at profiling factors released by cells in the body both before and after acute exercise. These factors are called exosomes and are believed to be important to improve health.

The findings of the study will help us further understand how exercise can release exosomes and the interaction between physical activity, health and ageing.

We are seeking healthy MALE adults, aged 50 to 70 years, with no known clinical diseases (heart disease, etc.) and free from lower body injury two months prior to participation, who are interested in participating.

What participation will involve: You will be required to attend the Exercise Physiology laboratory at Swinburne University on two occasions. Each lasts about 1-hour. The first session will include a submaximal cycle test to estimate your aerobic fitness. The second session will include a 20-min cycle exercise where blood samples will be collected before and after the exercise.

A pre-exercise screening questionnaire for eligibility will be completed through email prior to participation.

click here for exercise details

What you will find out: You will be offered a report on an estimation of your aerobic fitness and the fitness category based on ACSM guidelines.

For more information: please contact: A/Prof Jason Howitt: PhD student MC Chong:

Department of Health and Medical Sciences, Swinburne University

27 April 2019

Vision Test Research

People with normal, healthy vision between the ages of 60 and 85 are wanted for a research study assessing changes in vision with ageing.

Up to three test sessions of approximately 2 hours are involved which will include an abbreviated eye examination and a computer-based testing of vision.

Volunteers will be reimbursed $20 per session to assist with any out-of-pocket expenses incurred in attending.

Contact the study team on 03 9035 9979
or email:
A/Prof Allison McKendrick:
PhD Student Virginia Liu:

Department of Optometry & Vision Sciences The University of Melbourne

download a flyer here

26 February 2019

Mild Cognitive Disfunction

Do you have Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)?

We are seeking adults aged 50 to 70 years who would like to help us investigate the effects of non-invasive electrical brain stimulation on brain activity and cognition over time in people who meet criteria for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). MCI refers to a decline in memory that does not impact on daily functioning.

This study is a 3-year clinical trial. Transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) will be self-administered in the comfort of your own home over 3 years, following comprehensive training by a trained researcher.

Participation will also involve attending our research centre 7 times each year.

Collectively, these visits will involve interviews, assessments, cognitive activities, questionnaires, as well as recording brain activity and collecting blood for genetic analysis. You will be offered yearly reports on the regular cognitive assessments that you undergo throughout the trial.

If you would like to know more or are interested in participating, please contact Ms Freya Stockman via phone (9076 9896) or email

26 February 2019

Memory Training

Would you like to help with a new research project? The project is called MemoryTrain and we are trying to find out how memory can be improved in healthy, independent living people aged over 60.

If you are interested, a researcher from the project team will contact you and ask you some questions about your memory and health. Then you will have the option of one, or both, of the following:

(1) Over a period of 6 weeks you will complete some brain training sessions in your own home on the days and times of your choice. After the training sessions, there will be more questions to see whether there the training has had any effect.

(2) Over a shorter period ranging from 1-2 weeks, you will be asked to complete two cognitive testing sessions at Australian Catholic University as well as a brain scan at Monash Biomedical Imaging Centre, with no brain training.

Everything will be provided to complete the tasks. Some tasks require you to use a computer, but you don’t need any computer knowledge or to even own a computer to complete the study. The researchers will guide you and they will offer phone and online support if you have any questions or problems throughout the study. If you decide to participate, you will have regular contact with one or two members of the team.

If you would like to know more about this study please contact Emma Lawrence (Project Research Assistant) on 03 9230 8189 or email

download a flyer with study details here

We hope you will help – it can be fun, challenging, and may help yourself or others with ageing well.

10 December 2018

Expectations in Healthcare Testing

Australians have high expectations of tests in healthcare. But are they higher than warranted? Are they impacting on healthcare expenditure? While many people undoubtedly benefit from early diagnosis through testing, research shows that some tests may lead to unnecessary and costly, if not harmful, treatment.

Critically, the role of tests is often not straightforward; while they might lead directly to treatment, they might also prompt a cascade of further—and potentially unwarranted—tests.

Notwithstanding these issues, Australia’s overall use of diagnostic imaging and tests has increased significantly in recent years, which is contributing to rapidly rising healthcare costs. Despite this growth, we know little about the sociocultural factors that underpin this use. In particular, we have limited understanding of the factors shaping the optimistic expectations for particular tests and for testing in general in healthcare.

Responding to these gaps in knowledge, this project aims to understand the sociocultural processes underpinning optimism for the use of testing technologies in healthcare. The Australian national cancer screening programs and routine clinical practice will be used as case studies to determine the mechanisms by which optimistic expectations of healthcare testing emerge and function among different stakeholder communities.

Insights from this study will ultimately help to inform the development of policies and strategies that ensure a cost-effective use of healthcare resources.

We are now calling for volunteers to take part in a short survey on their experiences with healthcare testing and screening in Australia. The survey includes an option to take part in a follow-up interview for those interested.

Contact Stephen Derrick for more information

M: 0417 326 860

Click here to take part in the short survey

26 July 2018

Alzheimers and TMS

This research is investigating a novel treatment for people with Alzheimer's disease. It is examining whether transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can improve the cognitive symptoms of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease such as thinking and memory difficulties. TMS is a form of non-invasive brain stimulation which uses a magnetic pulse to stimulate brain cells. It has been used for over 20 years in the treatment of depression, and now its use in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease is being testing. 

The study is looking for men and women, aged 50 to 95 years, with a diagnosis of mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease, who are interested in participating in research. 

Download a flyer here

Dr Melanie Emonson Research Co-ordinator
T: (03) 9076 9864 E:

Ms Sarah Haines Research Assistant
T: (03) 9076 5180 E:

LOCATION Monash Alfred Psychiatry Research Centre
Level 4, 607 St Kilda Rd Melbourne 3004
T: (03) 9076 6564

21 July 2018

Huntington's disease and apathy

A Monash study team is looking for healthy people over the age of 40, who have no family history of Huntington's Disease (HD), to participate in research being conducted by Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience. This study aims to better understand how apathy affects people with HD.

What is involved?

Online questionnaire related to demographic and health information, as well as your
thoughts, feelings and daily activities.

Some participants will be invited to;
1. Wear a Fitbit device for 5 consecutive days
2. Complete a computerised motivation task & some paper/pencil puzzles (where
you will be reimbursed $40 for your participation)

Time: Online survey ~ 30 minutes. Motivation & paper/pencil tasks ~ 2 hours

Location: Monash University Campus

For more information, contact: (03) 9905 1918

download a flyer here

3 May 2018

Survey on Attitudes and Fear of Incontinence

This project involves exploring how attitudes about oneself, cognitive processes (unhelpful thoughts), social-cognitive processes (positive and negative evaluations) and social anxiety, relate to toilet anxiety (Paruresis and Parcopresis) and fear of incontinence (bladder and bowel incontinence phobia).

Toilet anxiety refers to not feeling comfortable using a public toilet despite feeling comfortable using the toilet at home. Conversely, bladder and bowel incontinence phobia refers to the overwhelming fear of incontinence in the absence of a medically diagnosed bladder or bowel condition. Toilet anxiety affects around 1 in 15 adults, and to date there has been limited study investigating feelings of worry and nervousness while using public toilets and its relationship with social anxiety.

If you would like to participate, your answers will help us gain a better understanding of the thought processes that individuals with toilet anxiety and fear of incontinence experience.

The findings will be used to inform mental health professionals in order to offer better support to individuals feeling uncomfortable in public toilets or those who experience fear of incontinence.

What participation will involve: During this study you will be asked about common (yet uncomfortable) experiences that individuals sometimes have in public toilets and in social situations in general. These questions are asked to you in the form of an anonymous questionnaire website that you can answer from the privacy of your own home. The study involves completing an online questionnaire which should take approximately 60 minutes to complete.

Participant rights and interests: At no point in the questionnaire is any information asked that can identify you as an individual. Information from all participants will be held in strict confidence to ensure that no participant can be identified from their responses. All of your provided answers will be stored anonymously with many other participant responses and only the above researchers will have access to the data.

click here to commence the survey

Further information about the project – Who to contact: If you have any questions or feel any level of distress associated with this study, please feel free to ask at any stage by contacting: Dr. Simon Knowles, Swinburne University, Hawthorn T: +61 03 9214 8206 E:

20 April 2018

Survey on Quality of Life

Project Summary
While the physical competencies of an ageing person may decline, their desire for maintaining their independence and autonomy remains strong. Attaining a satisfactory lifestyle in advanced age requires a deep level of understanding about the factors that highly influence one’s physical as well as psychological well-being. The goal of this project is to create and validate a framework for evaluating the well-being of older Australians (55 plus) in relation to their physical health, everyday activities particularly at home, social interactions and personal strivings. As a result we will be able to establish a realistic picture of the particular needs, emotions and motivations of the ageing population in Australia, and identify the areas that are most significant for understanding the barriers to living independently and improving the well-being of this population.

Your Involvement
The collection of data will take place using an online survey. To participate, please complete the digital survey on a range of questions about your life style and health. We expect that the activity will take approx. 25 minutes of your time and is voluntary. The collection of this data will help us to develop a quality of life model and make recommendations in the future on what products and services Australians would like to enable them to remain in their own home for longer.

click here to take the survey

Privacy Protection
The information collected in this project will be treated as confidential and used for research purposes only. We will present the results of the study at conferences and publish the findings in academic journals. No individual person will be identified. We will use code names for participants in all written work and public presentations.

Jeanie Beh
Research Assistant & PhD Candidate
Future Self and Design Living Lab
Department of Communication Design and Digital Media Design
School of Design
Faculty of Health, Arts and Design
Swinburne University of Technology

24 March 2018

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