University of South Australia GA00096 – commenced 18/08/2019

Research Team: Dr Emma Karran, Professor Roger Eston and Professor Lorimer Moseley.

This research will assess the importance of pain and its management in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) to measure the effect of personal, social, economic and a range of other factors on their outcomes.

It aims to develop a deeper understanding of the impact of pain, and the way that it is assessed by health practitioners, to identify gaps in care and strategies to optimise care for spine-injured adults.

Patients Australia-wide who have recently experienced spinal cord injury will be invited to contact the researchers to complete an online questionnaire, followed by a subsequent optional personal interview or focus group.

Specific objectives of this research include the development of a standardised dataset for pain assessment, characterisation of the pain problem in Australian spine-injured adults, and the evaluation the impact of the social determinants of health and social distribution on health outcomes following spinal cord injury.

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) GA00044 – commenced 3/07/2017

Research Team: Dr Ryan O’Hare Doig, Associate Professor Jillian Clark, Professor Brain Freeman, Mr James Swift, Professor Dylan Bartholomeusz, Mr Ben Crouch and Ms Kari Hughes.

Project Discovery is clinical trial study for people living with spinal cord injury to help determine a new diagnostic and long-term prognostic approach to the care of people with these injuries.

The symptoms of spinal cord injury vary widely based on the location and severity of the damage along the spinal cord. As a result, prognosis also ranges considerably from full recovery in rare cases to permanent tetraplegia or paraplegia.

The study aims to address the lack of tools presently available to adequately predict prognosis of spinal cord injury (SCI) to guide treatment and rehabilitation efforts by trialling Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scans. The outcome of this analyses will ultimately result in a more precise and personalised approach to spinal cord injury patients.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network GA00046 – commenced 3/08/2017

Research Team: Dr Ruth Marshall, Associate Professor Jillian Clark, Professor James Middleton, Professor Alan Cass, Associate Professor Bamini Gopinath, Ms Denzil O’Brien and Elizabeth Dallaway.

This research consists of three complementary population-based studies.

The work involves the identification of demographics, injury causation and characteristics that impact functioning, health and wellbeing of people with spinal cord injury, and how these vary between Australian states and between countries.

The research aims to address the deficit of knowledge in relation to the ‘lived experience’ of people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and provides insight how age, race and socioeconomic status influence the quality of life and broader health outcomes of these individuals.

The proposed outcomes of these studies will provide a greater understanding of the challenges faced and needs required for such spinal cord injury (SCI) individuals.

Central Adelaide Local Health Network GA00052 –– commenced 29/06/2018

Research Team: Dr Maggie Killington, Ms Bev Dodd, Dr Miranda Jelbart and Dr Maayken van den Berg.

This project aims to investigate the outcomes for South Australians who experience difficulties from sustaining a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) following a motor vehicle accident who are not eligible for the Lifetime Support Scheme (LSS).

The study is aimed at identifying and exploring the outcomes, costs and factors associated with sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) and to ascertain whether early intervention is effective in preventing long term impacts of such an injury.

Flinders University GA00090 – commenced 15/07/2019

Research Team: Associate Professor Belinda Lange and Dr Sebastian Koenig.

This project aims to create a comprehensive virtual reality assessment scenario using functional tasks in a virtual kitchen to challenge and assess individuals with brain injury.

Building on existing virtual assessment methods used in speech pathology, the assessment will provide information relevant to functional domains such as occupational therapy, neuropsychology, and physiotherapy.

The primary aim is to develop the creation of new tasks that combine functional, cognitive and physical elements to provide a realistic representation of the challenges that individuals with brain injury are faced with in their daily lives.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network Incorporated GA00048 – commenced 21/07/2017

Research Team: Dr James Rice, Associate Professor Ray Russo, Ms Natalie Hood and Ms Heather Baron

The project will address the support needs of children with mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injury from vehicle-related accident.

The study will identify children who are at risk of, or who are exhibiting signs of brain injury and will implement a short-term, goal-oriented rehabilitation program, which will include interventions delivered by a multi-disciplinary team.

Expected outcomes include improved early detection of mild-to-moderate brain injury in children, resulting in a more supported return to school and community environment, with reduced carer-related stress and burden.

South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) GA00093 – commenced 11/09/2019

Research Team: Dr Ryan O’Hare Doig, Professor Brian Freeman, Dr Marcalee Alexander and Dr Ruth Marshal.

This project aims to provide high quality evidence around sexual health following spinal cord injury (SCI), which is an area with limited research and is inadequately addressed in current practice.

Individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) often report diminished sexual satisfaction and activity after injury, the psychological impacts of which have been demonstrated in previous research.

In order to develop successful treatment strategies, it is imperative to understand the biological mechanisms associated with the spectrum of sexual dysfunction that may occur following a spinal cord injury (SCI).

This research uses functional resonance imaging (fMRI) to provide a quantitative, objective tool to explore sexual functioning, which is a major benefit to participants and researchers, providing more in depth and accurate data rather than the subjective tools that are currently used.

The study will compare the spinal cord responses in able-bodied people with those of people with a complete spinal cord injury (SCI) to further explain the roles of the human spinal cord in mediating sexual responses.

Skin Tissue Engineering Pty Ltd GA00061 – commenced 01/09/2016

Research Team: Dr John Greenwood, Miss Bronwyn Dearman and Miss Amy Li.

‘Skin’ is a biotech company focused on delivering a paradigm shift in burn and wound care. The tissue culturing process will see the growth and production of a cultured composite skin (CCS) replacing the need for skin grafting.

The CCS process will replace skin grafts, the epidermal and dermal cells are first isolated from a small graft and then cultured before being seeded and grown in a biodegradable matrix which produces a bilayer skin ready for grafting over burn wounds for a 28 day period. The result of this following the 28 day cycle, will enable enough cultured composite skin (CCS) to cover an entire adult.

The University of Adelaide GA00102 – commenced 1/04/2019

Research Team: Dr Diana Dorstyn, Associate Professor Rachel Roberts and Mr Peter Stewart.

.This project aims to provide an evidence-based pathway to employment for individuals with a spinal cord injury (SCI) to help develop effective employment support services.

It builds on a pilot study previously conducted by the research team, which developed an online resource ‘Work and SCI’ for adults with traumatic spinal cord injury.

The resource will be supplemented with personalised counselling based on the principles of effective vocational rehabilitation, to be delivered by The Paraplegic and Quadriplegic Association of South Australia (PQSA).

A sample group of people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) will be provided with access to the ‘Work and SCI’ modules over a two month period, with half the sample also receiving assessment and coaching by a certified vocational counsellor.

Participants will be assessed using established measures, and the comparative effectiveness of the counselling and ‘Work and SCI’ interventions will be evaluated by comparing group changes in job-seeking behaviour.

Page last updated: 30 September 2020