A robotic arm is the key to a radical new stroke treatment, helping patients regain upper body movement.
Melbourne researchers have developed a device that helps stroke patients learn to use their bodies again by tracking their movements while performing exercises. The arm movements can be displayed on a computer screen, and the activities turned into a game.
“The patients enjoy using the robot because it’s like playing computer games,” says Associate Professors Denny Oetomo, who is working with Ying Tan, and a team at The University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“It also improves the ratio of patients to clinician time as the clinicians can handle multiple patients at one time.” Continue reading Robotic arm to help stroke patients regain movement
Beetroot juice and exercise are being investigated as a treatment for cardiovascular problems. And understanding the workings of the combination could lead to other, more sophisticated therapies.
That’s the hope of Professor Jason Allen and his PhD student Mary Woessner from the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living (ISEAL) at Victoria University in western Melbourne. Continue reading The right juice for your heart
One in five cases of infertility are caused by scars due to past infections with chlamydia, but in most cases people don’t know they were ever infected.
Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) have discovered that a specific set of our genes switch on within half an hour of infection, which could lead to new treatments.
Continue reading The hidden infection causing infertility
A PhD student at The University of Melbourne has discovered a technique that can improve the resolution of bionic eyes for people who suffer from retinal conditions such age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa.
“Implants are really limited in how much resolution they can provide. I’m trying to improve that,” says Kerry Halupka, who works with the Bionics Institute. Continue reading Sharpening vision in bionic eyes
Across America lives have been improved by Australian inventions—the cervical cancer vaccine, the bionic eye, gum that repairs tooth decay. What’s next?
Extended wear contact lenses for healthier eyes
Some 30 million Americans use contact lenses. Today they can wear a single pair for up to 30 consecutive days and nights, safely and comfortably thanks to the work of CIBA Vision and CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency.
Contact lenses were once rigid and had to be taken out every night. In 1991, a team of researchers from CSIRO, the University of New South Wales, and the Vision Cooperative Research Centre joined forces with CIBA Vision in the US, and Novartis in Switzerland, to create a better contact lens.
Continue reading Eyes, hearts, bionic spines—partners in new health technologies
Understanding why red blood cells get out of shape during storage could help improve the effectiveness and safety of blood transfusions.
So, Marie-Anne Balanant and Sarah Barns are combining biological and engineering expertise, to create a model of how different parts of ageing red blood cell membranes react when a force is applied.
They hope to propose strategies to improve blood storage practices and create better transfusion outcomes for patients.
Continue reading Keeping in shape: what happens to red blood cells in storage?
The conditions have been right for Zika virus to spread during the warmer months of past years in Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton, according to research led by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service.
Using temperature data from January 2015 to December 2016, the team modelled the ability of mosquitoes to spread the virus in four Queensland cities. Brisbane (the fourth city) was the only site where the risk was low.
“If locations experience outbreaks of dengue, the conditions would also be right for outbreaks of Zika,” says lead researcher Dr Elvina Viennet.
The findings emphasise the need for imported cases to be reported immediately, Elvina says.
Continue reading Measuring the risk of an Australian Zika outbreak
Heart attacks, cancers, mental disorders, diabetes, and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are on the rise in Indonesia and Australia. In 2007 they caused 60 per cent of Indonesian deaths; by 2014 this had risen to more than 70 per cent.
NCDs also account for over 90 per cent of Australian deaths. More than half the country’s adults are considered overweight or obese and a 2014 study found Australia’s obesity rate was rising faster than anywhere else in the world.
Continue reading Fighting the new killers: The Australia- Indonesia Centre Health Cluster
School-aged children are surrounded by messages about food and nutrition, from shop signs to brand advertising. Linguists from Indonesia and Australia have developed a new way of studying how this affects them, using smartphones and clever analysis.
In a project financed by The Australia-Indonesia Centre and led by Dr Sisilia Halimi of Universitas Indonesia and Professor Lesley Harbon of the University of Technology Sydney, researchers used their phones to take pictures of the ‘linguistic landscape’ around schools and their surrounds, in fact anywhere written text was evident.
Continue reading Signs of the dietary environment
During the 2009 Black Saturday fires—Australia’s worst bushfire disaster to date—Indonesian experts headed to Victoria to help identify the bodies of the 173 victims.
Their support came as part of a collaborative initiative between the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine (VIFM), and the Department of Police Medicine of the Indonesia National Police (Dokpol) which saw 20 Indonesian experts in forensic pathology, forensic odontology (which involves examining dental evidence) and DNA analysis work alongside VIFM and Victorian Police for over two months.
Continue reading Identifying victims in the Black Saturday bushfires