Identifying Biological Markers of Anxiety Disorders

The aim of this research is to identify biological markers of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Prolonged Grief and Depression. This project will integrate genetic, biological and cognitive factors to help predict treatment response in anxiety disorders and Depression.

We are currently recruiting participants who have experienced the loss of a loved one at least one year ago and have been unable to move on following their loss

The study involves:

i.       Assessment:  This will help us to explore your current level of functioning.

ii.      EEG Testing (electroencephalogram): This is a non- invasive measure of brain function which is achieved by placing recording disks on your sculp. While recording your brain activity, we will ask you to complete some simple attention and emotion perception tasks. After completing these tasks, we will then get you to perform some memory and attention tasks on a touch screen computer (see picture below).

iii.    Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): We will first carry out a structural scan of your brain. You will then be asked to perform some simple attention tasks and look at some images depicting emotional content while we scan your brain to see areas activated during performance of particular tasks. This is a non- invasive procedure.

iv.    Genetics: We will ask you for a sample of your saliva so we can collect your DNA to explore the possible role of serotonin in anxiety disorders and depression.

You will be required to attend one 5 hour session at Brain Dynamics Centre, Westmead Hospital. You will be reimbursed for your time. 

Computer tasks                                                                               EEG Testing

Computer tasks                                                                               EEG Testing

For further information, please call us on 8627 3314, or fill out an enquiry form here


Memories and Emotions in Grief

The purpose of this study is to learn more about how people remember their loved ones and manage different emotional experiences during bereavement. If we can understand more about how people think and feel during bereavement we can improve treatments for individuals who experience ongoing difficulties coping with the loss of their loved ones.

We are currently recruiting participants who have experienced the loss of a loved one at least one year ago and are experiencing intense grief reactions following their loss

This study involves attending one 2-3 hour session either at The Westmead Institute or the University of New South Wales. During this session you will be asked some questions about your loss and how it has impacted you. There will also be a number of short tasks that may involve recalling some memories from your life, whilst wearing a heart rate monitor and eye tracking task, and some computer tasks that involve making decisions about pictures and words. There are also some questionnaires that ask about your loss, your emotions, and your coping strategies, which you complete in your own time. If you are interested in participating, we would need to go through some screening questions to make sure you are eligible to participate.

You would be reimbursed $50 per hour for up to 3 hours participation.

For further information, please call us on 8627 3314, or fill out an enquiry form here


The Effects of Genetics and Brain Function on Response to Treatment for People with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Researchers at the University of New South Wales and University of Tasmania are conducting a research study to identify how genetics and brain activity predict responses to treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The standard treatment for PTSD is exposure therapy, which involves gradually learning to control fear of memories and reminders of the traumatic event.  We wish to identify what influences how quickly people respond to this treatment and how much they get better.  

The research project is interested in identifying how genetics and brain activity may predict responses to treatment for PTSD. It consists of two sessions of approximately 1 hour - the first is an assessment with a clinical psychologist at either UNSW or Westmead; the second is an MRI brain scan, conducted at Royal North Shore Hospital. You would be reimbursed for your time in participating.

If you are interested in participating, or would like to know more about this study, please call the clinic on 8627 3314. An MRI safety screening interview is required and can be completed by phone.