The power of people in shaping good health

A team of researchers at the Psychology of Active Healthy Living group at The University of Western Australia have dedicated their research to understanding the power of others in shaping healthy behaviours. Their community-based programs including Mummy Buddy and MAN v FAT Soccer have shown that the presence of a strong support network can have positive effects on a person’s general health and mental well-being.

Parkinson’s: when you sleep better, you feel better

Sleep is one of the pillars of health. However, sleep disturbances can be a common symptom in Parkinson’s, affecting up to 98% of patients.

From their studies, and from what is known about how the brain works, Dr Maria Pushpanathan, UWA School of Psychological Science and her colleagues have shown that there are relationships between sleep and daytime function. By improving sleep symptoms, potentially, the progression of Parkinson’s may slow and, subsequently, the quality of life may improve. Translating this new knowledge could also have major clinical implications for the treatment of problematic sleep issues in people with Parkinson’s.

Dr Ionat Zurr and Mr Oron Catts, co-founders of SymbioticA

SymbioticA: provoking dialogue about artful science

Art is supposed to do the avant-garde, be radical and ask the deepest questions about life and about the position of the human in this world. For almost 20 years, UWA’s SymbioticA has been interested in the growing gap between our cultural understanding of life and what we know about life through science. But more importantly, what we choose to do to life through technology. Through their exhibitions and research the group has developed new technologies, influenced policymaking and articulated cultural ideas around scientific knowledge in the pursuit of critiquing the ethical and cultural issues of the manipulation of life.

What’s a breastfeed?

Over the last hundred years there have been huge advances in medical care for pregnancy and childbirth such as: assisted reproductive technologies, blood tests for hormone levels, ultrasound assessments of pregnancy and neonatal intensive care units. However, we are not seeing similar advances to treat issues relating to lactation.

A Tailored Prescription in Exercise

As a PhD student, Daniel Green had a keen interest in finding new ways to help sporting people get better at what they do. However, it wasn’t long before he realised that many of the techniques he used to measure human fitness and function could be applied to people at the other end of the health spectrum; patients with heart disease and end-stage heart failure. In subsequent years, Prof Green developed a team at UWA that has had profound impacts on establishing exercise science a recognised allied health profession, leading worldwide agendas to optimise the way that patients are clinically managed using exercise and establishing a better understanding of how exercise exerts its benefits on the heart and arteries.

Stopping the spread

Invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) has been on the rise in Western Australia (WA), with nearly half of the cases presenting as MenW. Since 2013, a team of researchers at UWA led by Associate Professor Charlene Kahler have been researching IMD and MenW and have been instrumental in informing the WA government of the need to act in delivering vaccinations to the community, the most effective preventative measure to eradicate this disease.

Side by side: offloading LNG on the open seas

A new and innovative technology; Shell’s Prelude Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG) facility is being deployed to meet increasing global energy demands.

However, deploying in deep water far away from sheltered areas, offloading LNG offshore presents new technical challenges.

Researchers at UWA work closely with Shell to meet challenges associated with reliable offloading of LNG; a critical component for the successful implementation of the technology.

Drop by drop

Water is a key driver for all our activities; transporting life giving solutions into the environment and into our bodies. It plays a critical role in making our cities and towns more liveable and our industries viable. Staggeringly, we have access to only 3% of the world’s total water. Of that, 1% falls in the wrong place, 1% falls at the wrong time and only the remaining 1% is accessible for use. By using a multidisciplinary approach, Professor Anas Ghadouani and his team have been dedicated to helping communities close the loop on the water cycle at a local level.

The Business of Breastfeeding

Using ultrasound, Dr Donna Geddes, Senior Research Fellow at the School of Molecular Sciences, UWA is producing new knowledge on human lactation. Innovative products which, have been developed as a result of her research, have already empowered mothers as well as clinicians with tools to provide babies more breast milk and enhance breastfeeding and ultimately improving the long term health of babies worldwide.

Understanding and predicting ocean weather

Our planet experiences a range of natural disasters that can cause loss of life and displacement of communities. By using the latest technology and modelling to understand and predict ocean weather, this team have been able to help global communities.