Dr Muireann Irish discovered which parts of our brain are essential to imagine the future, ranging from simple things like “I must remember my keys and my wallet” to imagining complex events such as “my next holiday”.
And she’s shown that people with dementia don’t just lose the ability to remember the past, they also lose the ability to envisage the future.
While working at Neuroscience Research Australia and the University of New South Wales, Muireann has demonstrated that patients with dementia are unable to imagine future events or to engage in future-oriented forms of memory, and she has revealed the key brain regions that support these complex functions.
The Monash scientists who led the creation of the world’s first 3D-printed jet engine in 2015 are now improving the design and cost of manufacturing medical implants, surgical tools, aerospace components, and more.
They’ve been working with surgeons to design tools for specific operations, to replace ‘one-size-fits-all’ tools currently available.
Almost everyone has had their blood pressure measured with an inflatable cuff around the arm. But as useful as this is, it can differ from the reading at the heart itself.
Twenty years ago Sydney scientists found a way to get that extra information. They created a model that gives the pressure at the main artery of the heart, using the wrist’s pressure pulse (the shape of the ‘waves’ that both travel along arteries when the heart pumps blood, and travel back to the heart as it fills with blood).
The model wasn’t applicable to children, since their limbs are still growing – so now they’re adapting it to fit.
“I’m ecstatic about the impact our programs have on kids, and knowing that we’ve changed their lives for the better. But we need to ask ‘what about our retirees?’” says Professor Ron Rapee, ARC Laureate Fellow, and former Director of the Centre for Emotional Health.
Retirees are less likely to suffer from mental health problems but they still develop anxiety and depression – and there’s increasing evidence these conditions are risk factors for dementia.
To make things worse, they’re often left untreated as there’s a perception that it’s normal for older people to suffer depression as they lose their friends, health and independence.
You’re in hospital: should you stay? Should you leave? What’s your risk of dying?
By mining electronic health records, researchers at Macquarie University believe they can help improve decision making by health professionals.
Dr Blanca Gallego Luxan is investigating using hospital information and state health and death registries to fill gaps in patient care – whether due to discontinuity of care, lack of information on a condition, or simply the limits of what humans can predict.
Non-invasive brain stimulation using an applied magnetic field can strengthen brain connections that weaken as we age.
Perth researchers hope to use this technique to improve the quality of life and reduce the risk of falls and injuries in older people.
Past the age of about 60, there’s a weakening of the structural connections between the three different areas of the brain that control our decision-making processes, our ‘planning’ centres, and our fine-motor control.
It’s the connections between those areas that ultimately allow us to successfully interact with our environment, for example adjusting our foot placement when we step on uneven paving.
We’ve all cursed an ineffective digital network, whether it’s delays streaming the latest Game of Thrones or a dangerous mobile phone overload during bushfire season. But no-one wants to pay extra for an over-engineered network.
The secret to designing and testing a digital network to find the happy medium is a mathematical tool called a traffic matrix: a model of all the digital traffic within the network.
‘Perfect entanglement’ of two light beams has opened a major step towards highly secure quantum communication systems.
The University of Queensland’s Professor Tim Ralph and his colleagues from Canada and Russia have developed a technique to restore entangled light beams that have been distributed between distant points.