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

Research Requests

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Huntington's disease & apathy

Fear of Incontinence

Survey on Quality of Life

Understanding bone fragility in older patients

University of Melbourne Knee Arthritis Studies

RAPID-plus trial

Brain Stimulation

Vision Research

Grandparents at a distance

Huntinton'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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Understanding bone fragility in older patients

Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) measures contribute to the understanding of bone fragility in older patients with low-trauma fracture.

The research team is looking for participants for a pilot study on the role of pQCT and pQCT-based finite element model in the understanding of bone fragility.

Participants should:

• Be over 50 years of age;
• Neither have sustained any low-trauma fracture*, nor had previous diagnosis of osteoporosis;
• Be able to attend a 60-minute site visit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

You will undergo two bone tests using DXA, a routine exam for osteoporosis diagnosis, and pQCT, a three-dimensional assessment tool for bone mineral density. Your bone results will be used by the investigators to evaluate the potential clinical utility of pQCT for the assessment of bone fragility.

You will have the two tests for free at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. The results will be assessed by Prof John Wark, an endocrinology consultant who has much experience in the management of osteoporosis. If you are found to have low bone density that you were not aware of, you will be referred for further treatment.

*Low-trauma fracture, also known as fragility fracture, is defined as fracture resulting from minimal-trauma, such as a fall from a standing height.

Please feel free to contact Hongyuan Jiang on 0451 879 361 or at if you are interested in this research or you have further questions.


26 October 2017

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University of Melbourne Knee Arthritis Studies

The Department of Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne is carrying out new research using various interventions such as physiotherapy, exercise programs, and shoewear to evaluate the level of pain, function, disease progression and cost-effectiveness of this important public health issue.

Three trials are currently being conducted:

1. The TARGET Trial This trial is comparing two different exercise programs to assess their effect on pain and function for knee pain/osteoarthritis. As part of this trial all participants will visit a physiotherapist 5 times to have their exercise program prescribed and tailored. Participants will also complete this program at home 3-4 times each week for 9 months. Exercise equipment will be provided and study-trained physios are located throughout Melbourne.

For more information and to register your interest, please visit:   click here for a flyer   click here for study details

2. The FOOTSTEP trial This trial is evaluating the use of readily available off-the-shelf shoes on knee pain/osteoarthritis. Participants will be randomly allocated to wear either of two classes of shoes for 6 months. Participants will get to keep the shoes at the end of the study.

For more information and to register your interest, please visit:   click here for a flyer   click here for study details

3. The RESTORE trial This exciting new study looks at the effect of Platelet-Rich Plasma injections into the knee of those with knee osteoarthritis. This study involves people being allocated into either a platelet-rich plasma group or a placebo group. All participants will undergo three injections into the knee over a 3 week period. To find out more and to register your interest, please visit the following webpage:

26 October 2017

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The Melbourne University Academic Unit for Psychiatry of Old Age (AUPOA) is looking for volunteers to join the RAPID-plus trial, a study testing a new approach to treating depressive symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s Disease and their carers.

This six-month study aims to test a novel intervention designed to improve the mood and quality of life of people with memory concerns and those who care for them. The intervention is called ‘cognitive bias modification’ or CBM.

CBM is an easy to use computer-based intervention that aims to break the vicious cycle of negative thoughts contributing to negative feelings.

People who answer ‘yes’ to the following may be eligible to join the RAPID-plus trial:

Have you been diagnosed with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and have some depressive symptoms?

Are you a carer for someone with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)?

Are you fluent in written and spoken English?

If you, or someone you know would be interested in participating, or for more information, please contact:
Rhoda Lai at AUPOA Ph: 03 8387 2202

Visit the AUPOA Website: (download flyer for details)


17 April 2017

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Brain Stimulation

The Monash Alfred Psychiatry research centre (MAPrc) in Melbourne carries out research to try and make a difference in the lives of people experiencing serious mental illness and neurological disorders.

Current treatments often do not lead to complete recovery, therefore they are exploring additional, innovative treatment options for disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, borderline personality disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.

Often, they also conduct research with healthy samples to develop understanding through comparison with other groups.

At present they are co-ordinating a research trial which investigates the effects of gentle brain stimulation on attention, memory, concentration and problem solving in healthy older adults aged 65 to 80 and are looking for volunteers to assist with the study (download flyer for details).

22 February 2017

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Vision Research

People aged 60-75 with normal, healthy vision or people diagnosed with glaucoma (any age) are wanted for vision research.

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

(1) An eye examination to determine whether you are eligible to participate in the study
(2) A series of computer based vision tests where you are required to respond to visual patterns presented on a computer screen
(3) Electrophysiological recordings using surface electrodes on the scalp and face in response to the appearance of visual patterns on a computer screen

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

Enquiries: Contact Dr Bao Nguyen:

phone: 03 9035 9979 or

Department of Optometry & Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne.

27 January 2017

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Grandparents at a distance

How do you communicate?

You are invited to participate in a focus group as a part of PhD project. You will be asked to attend a 3 hour session at Swinburne in September or early October. The session will have a half-hour break with refreshments provided. To be eligible to participate you need to be a grandparent of children in the age range 10 - 19 and to have some degree of distance seperation requiring you to communicate normally other than by face-to-face.

The separation of families across geographic distance decreases opportunities for face-to- face contact and communication, making it difficult for grandparents and grandchildren to maintain their relationship. This study investigates how digital communication tools might support relationship building between grandparents and teenage grandchildren, especially through the sharing of experiences and expression of emotions.

The aim is to identify issues that block or trigger and support communication between grandparents and teenage grandchildren separated by distance, for example, unsuitable technology, level of technology knowledge or other priorities. By analysing these factors, we hope to generate ideas and strategies to develop and fun and engaging, ageing-friendly solution to supporting grandparent-grandchild communication.

Further details are available in a brochure available to download here and in an information statement outlining the study acailable to download here.

1 July 2016

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