Research news

Several scientific disciplines underpin each of our research projects. By combining these capabilities, we not only develop new technologies, but also new approaches to medical research.  

The Health Experience Team celebrates the publication of images

The Health Experience Team is pleased to celebrate the publication of images created in a workshop with people living with MS. The images were selected for the October 2020 cover of the Health Expectations journal and were produced in a workshop held with people living with MS who told stories about their experiences of living with MS. The images demonstrate the complex relationships that all have with MS and illuminate the perspectives of people living with MS on their lives, research and clinical encounters.  

The cover image supports the review article also published in the journal ‘It struck at the heart of who I thought I was’: A metasynthesis of the qualitative literature examining the experiences of people with multiple sclerosis.  

ACT MS Symposium 2020

The ACT MS Symposium 2020 focussed on inflammation and brain health in multiple sclerosis. We secured knowledgeable ANU and external speakers and hosted a panel discussion to respond to your most burning questions.

Instead of an all-day in-person event, we had a whole week of online morning tea seminars with international speakers.

Speakers at the ACT MS Symposium discussed various hot topics in MS and attendees had the opportunity to submit questions before and during each session.

Robust Feature Engineering for Parkinson Disease Diagnosis: New Machine Learning Techniques

We have shown that features used in prior machine learning literature do not perform well when extrapolated to the much larger mPower data set on Parkinson's Disease. Owing to the natural variation in speech, the separation of people living with Parkinson's Disease and their controls is not as simple as previously believed. We presented significant performance improvements using additional novel features (with 88.6% certainty, derived from a Bayesian correlated t test) in separating patients and controls, with accuracy exceeding 58%.

Wang M, Ge W, Apthorp D, Suominen H

JMIR Biomed Eng 2020;5(1):e13611 DOI: 10.2196/13611

MS Research Toolkit

Our “Toolkit for collaboration between people living with MS and researchers” is now available. The toolkit was designed by, and for, people living with MS and researchers. It is a collection of materials to help people living with MS and researchers to understand each other and work well together.

Whether you are a person living with MS, or a person researching MS, the toolkit is designed to help you understand the perspectives of your collaborators, to work together effectively.

You can find more details here:

2019 Ian Ballard Travel Award from MS Research Australia

Dr Jo Lane with Professor Tanuja Chitnis (Harvard Medical School) and Dr Anne Bruestle (OHIOH, ANU) at the ACTRIMS Forum in Florida, February 2020.

Dr Jo Lane was awarded the 2019 Ian Ballard Travel Award from MS Research Australia (19-0760). As part of this award she attended the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida where the theme of the Forum was “Networks in Multiple Sclerosis”.

Dr Lane also spent a week at the Multiple Sclerosis Precision Medicine Center of Excellence, Johns Hopkins University and presented at the NeuroImmunology Seminar series on “Our Health in Our Hands: improving personalised care in multiple sclerosis”. She was mentored by Associate Professor Ellen Mowry and conducted an Observership with neurologists at Johns Hopkins.

Dr Lane was mentored by Professor Helen Tremlett and her team at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, Faculty of Medicine (Neurology), University of British Columbia (UBC). She presented at the UBC MS Connect Session on “Improving personalised care in multiple sclerosis”.

Dr Lane received positive feedback regarding the Australian National University Grand Challenge Our Health in Our Hands following her presentations and future collaborations were discussed. She is thankful to MS Research Australia for providing this opportunity to engage with and be a part of the international MS research community.

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems

The centre will help develop smaller, smarter, faster and cheaper wearable optical sensors to better monitor our health in real-time. You can learn more about it here.

Personalised and Integrated Management of MS

The 3rd ACT Multiple Sclerosis Symposium was held on 29 October 2019, at the John Curtin School of Medical Research, ANU.

The program featured researchers and clinicians from overseas, interstate and the researchers from ANU who are working on the “Our Health in Our Hands” MS research. 70 participants attended, including a large number of People with Multiple Sclerosis (PwMS), who enjoyed hearing the presentations but more importantly, being able to meet and talk to clinicians and researchers. This year, students presented posters of the work being undertaken by them. There were 11 posters and 3 device displays and the students were available to discuss their research.

We were very privileged to hear from Associate Professor Ellen Mowry, from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore USA, who spoke on Personalising the approach to multiple sclerosis through “learning health system”.  Professor Mowry discussed MS Paths (Partners advancing technology and health solutions) which is seeking to enhance MS Care. Other areas of MS research included Clinical Phenotyping, Bio banking for Genetic research, Retinal Imaging, Patient reported outcomes and wearable measures of disability. 

Dr Patrick Aouad gave a presentation on Understanding, diagnosing and managing MS in 2019 and beyond. This was followed by a panel discussion, which included two PwMS, who talked about their journeys with MS, Professor Mowry, Professor Robyn Lucas (ANU), Dr Aouad, Dr Julia Morahan from MS Research Australia, Jeff Lawrence MSL and moderated by Professor Christian Lueck.

Dr Vanessa Fanning is the Australian non-clinical representative on the Alliance, she reported on work being undertaken by the International Progressive MS Research Alliance.

Researchers from the OHIOH team reported on the promising progress of the work undertaken to date. 

"It was encouraging to see people with MS actively involved in the Symposium. The ANU is to be commended for hosting these Symposia which are gaining in strength and respect each year."

Katrina Chisholm (Person with MS)

New sensors open door to wearable medical diagnostic device

Scientists from The Australian National University have designed tiny optical sensors that open the door to developing a wearable device that allows doctors to medically diagnose people's health in real time.

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