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Articles categorized as ‘UQ Health Sciences’

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

UQ physiotherapy student tackles global health issues

University students from across the globe are exploring the connections between society, economics, environment and health at the U21 Health Sciences Summer School in Johannesburg.

UQ physiotherapy student Leah Davis and nursing and midwifery students Elizabeth Bartetzko, Anne Tin and Sophie Bonser are representing the University of Queensland at the event.

UQ health sciences students tackle global health issues

UQ physio student Leah Davis (Photo: UQ)

Ms Davis said her passion for the sociological study of human health had been fired by the class, gender and ethnicity disadvantage she had observed.

“I’m from a rural Queensland town where I attended public schools, worked at the local pharmacy and stood in lines at the financial aid offices,” she said.

“It was within these environments, surrounded by members of every class and nationality, that I first started to foster the idea that people’s health can’t be solely determined by a purely biomedical model.

“Attending this summer school is a dream come true that will allow me to gain knowledge and develop tools to help those who weren’t lucky enough to be born within the bubble of privilege.

“I’m most excited to be given the opportunity to grow as a person and as a health student.

“I believe in the importance of expanding my world beyond the life I know and am used to, and so it is going to be life-changing to witness first-hand the health struggles those in developing countries experience.”

Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Sarah Roberts-Thomson said the students were ideal candidates to represent UQ.

“They have such an exciting opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge, expertise and experiences with other health students from across the world,” Professor Roberts-Thomson said.

“The interdisciplinary discussions and interaction will be invaluable to their personal and career journeys ahead.”

The theme of the summer school at the University of Johannesburg is Global Health and the Social Determinants of Health.

Students will visit private and public health care facilities and cultural and historical sites, meet with communities, and participate in interdisciplinary activities.

The summer school will bring together students from dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, midwifery, nutrition, medicine, public health, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, audiology and optometry, all from U21 Health Sciences Group member universities.

About the University of Queensland Physiotherapy program

The University of Queensland offers a learning environment and has assessment requirements designed to facilitate the advanced and intensive learning appropriate for a master’s-level program. The Master of Physiotherapy Studies introduces graduates to the profession of physiotherapy and its key concepts in intensive mode during an initial summer semester. UQ physiotherapy students develop an understanding of the principles of scientific method, critical analysis and research design and apply them to professional practice. Students learn to appreciate the physiotherapist’s role in health promotion, injury prevention and effective treatment planning, implementation and evaluation.

Did you know there are approximately 40 spots available in the program? For the 2017 intake, 17 OzTREKK students accepted their international student offers!

Program: Master of Physiotherapy Studies
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Next available intake: November 2018
Duration: 2 years
Application deadline: UQ has a general application deadline of May 30 each year; however, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

Apply now to the UQ Physiotherapy School!

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Would you like more information about studying at UQ Physiotherapy School? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Physiotherapy School Admissions Officer Krista McVeigh at krista@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

UQ sport science ranks in global top 5

The UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences has ranked 4th and 5th in the world for sport science in two highly respected global rankings systems.

This January, UQ placed 4th in CEOWORLD Magazine’s World’s Top Universities for Sport Science In 2016.

UQ sport science ranks in global top 5

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences has ranked 4th and 5th in the world for sport science! (Photo: UQ)

Head of School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences Professor Andrew Cresswell said the accolade was a reflection of UQ’s dedication to being a world-leader in sport and exercise science education and research.

“Our strong commitment to excellence in teaching and research is paramount to our success, and permeates everything we do,” Professor Cresswell said.

“We aspire to be at the forefront of learning and strive to ensure students meet the needs of the sport science industry, are job-ready, and equipped with the skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen careers.”

The ranking is based on six key indicators of quality, including academic reputation, admission eligibility, job placement rate, recruiter feedback, specialisation, and global reputation and influence.

It comes one month after UQ ranked 5th in the ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Sport Science Schools and Departments 2016.

The ShanghaiRanking assessed key areas of research performance, including the number of papers published in top sport science journals and the number of citations of articles.

Professor Cresswell said the school’s performance was led by outstanding teaching and research staff, and work being undertaken in the research centres.

“To be rated among the very best in the world by two highly respected ranking systems, and to score higher than many larger universities with celebrated kinesiology and human movement departments, is a huge accolade,” Professor Cresswell said.

Why study the UQ Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences (Honours)?

This program will ignite your interest in the complexities of maintaining an active, healthy human body and allow you to make an essential contribution to well-being, rehabilitation and performance. This program focuses on understanding how to enhance human performance, how the body responds to exercise and physical activity, and how to conduct research which could help build healthier communities and stronger athletes.

Career opportunities are varied and may include prescribing and delivering exercise and physical activity programs in the fitness industry, developing strength and conditioning programs to assist elite athletes and sporting teams, delivering workplace health promotion and executive health management programs, or conducting diagnostic measurements (cardiac, sleep, respiratory or neurophysiology) in hospitals or other clinical services.

Program: Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Sciences (Honours)
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Program duration: 4 years
Application deadline: November 29, 2017

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Learn more about studying UQ sports science! Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston: shannon@oztrekk.com or 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, February 8th, 2016

UQ exercise physiology graduate helping seniors stay independent

UQ exercise physiology graduate Renee Weller may have just started her career, but she’s already making big changes to the lives of elderly clients.

Ms Weller, of Kallangur in Brisbane, developed and delivered a group exercise class to help senior citizens improve their strength, mobility, fitness and balance.

UQ exercise physiology

Renee Weller runs a fitball class (Photo credit: University of Queensland)

“We work a lot with senior citizens and as a result I am extremely passionate about helping my clients maintain their level of independence,” she said.

“Through specific exercises, I aim to improve their function which will assist with tasks at home and allow them to continue activities they enjoy.”

Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has recognised Ms Weller’s early career contributions to exercise physiology, naming her the national Accredited Exercise Physiology Graduate of the Year.

The award recognises young exercise physiology graduates for their work in and commitment to improving health through the delivery of exceptional or innovative exercise physiology programs or activities.

“I really enjoy working with people to help improve their health and lifestyle and the variety of work that is involved in that,” Ms Weller said.

“Within my job, no two people are the same. My exercise prescription is constantly challenged as I am always meeting new people with different circumstances and goals for their health.”

Ms Weller graduated from the University of Queensland with first-class honours, completing her major university practicum placement at Healthy Connections Exercise Clinic where she was then offered a permanent role.

She will be presented the award in April at the ESSA Conference in Melbourne.

The Healthy Connections Exercise Clinic in Brisbane has a strong partnership with the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, and 10 of their 12 accredited exercise physiologists are UQ graduates.

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Wondering about health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Do you need protein supplements to get ripped?

Many people spend hours in the gym every week and fill up on protein supplements in the quest for a ripped physique, but could all that hard work and money spent on sweet tasting powder be in vain?

According to a University of Queensland physiology and nutrition expert, expensive supplements may be nothing more than a waste of money.

UQ Health Sciences

Do you need protein supplements to get ripped? (Photo credit: UQ)

UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences researcher Dr David Jenkins argues that more protein doesn’t necessarily mean more muscle.

“Because muscles are made of protein, there’s a misconception that if you eat more protein you get more muscle,” Dr Jenkins said.

“In principle this is true, but there are two considerations that override this.

“Provided you eat a healthy and balanced diet, you consume far more protein than you actually need.

“Any extra protein we consume is probably not going to have any additional effect.”

Dr Jenkins said timing meals around workouts was important for muscle growth.

“Having 20 grams of high-quality protein that includes leucine and the other essential amino acids immediately before or after exercise will promote muscle growth and repair.”

He said whey protein, marketed as being the best work out supplement, tended to have higher amount of leucine and the other essential amino acids.

“However there is no long-term evidence that expensive supplements from the shop are any better than just drinking flavoured milk,” Dr Jenkins said.

“Provided a food source has the essential amino acids and the timing of intake is carefully considered, this will provide the right environment for muscle growth.”

About the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

The UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences offers a range of high-quality undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the interdisciplinary areas of human movement and nutrition, which includes, but is not limited to, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, health sport and physical education, dietetics and coaching.

The school provides world-leading staff and state-of-the-art facilities which provide students with a world-class education.

The university takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, which is critical to allow effective translation of research outcomes for policy and practice.

The school’s research is diverse and focuses on addressing multi-dimensional questions related to how and why humans move and obtain nutrition. Areas of focus include critical to health and disease prevention across the lifespan including exercise, physical activity and health, dietetics and nutrition, sensorimotor neuroscience, sport, physical and health education.

View this story on Science Over Coffee

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Would you like more information about health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

UQ health students put talents on display

Queensland is home to not only the nation’s champion rugby league and netball teams, but also to Australia’s most ingenious health students.

University of Queensland’s Dr Emma Beckman  said she was ecstatic after the team she mentors claimed a second successive HealthFusion Team Challenge.

UQ Health Sciences

Study health sciences at the University of Queensland

The HealthFusion Team Challenge is a national competition requiring students to collaborate and produce a gold-standard care program for a hypothetical client with complex needs.

Organisers purposely place contestants in a timed, pressurised environment and present unusual and complicated scenarios.

“We really do have some fantastically talented health professionals coming through the Health at UQ ranks,” said team mentor Dr Beckman.

“This is a great endorsement of not only the individuals concerned, but for the education and support provided by UQ’s health sciences faculties.

“To be outstanding in one area is an achievement, but this team brought students together from six different disciplines and they were all quite remarkable.”

This year’s winning UQ health sciences team consisted of Joanna Standen (Social Work), Michael Honnery (Occupational Therapy), Nicole Atkinson (Physiotherapy), Elizabeth Coomer (Speech Pathology), Mariam Rizk (Medicine), and Brittany Martin (Pharmacy).

UQ Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences Associate Dean (Academic) Professor Sarah Roberts-Thomson described the title defence in the HealthFusion Challenge as a proud achievement.

“The community is already well aware of the strength of the health sciences at UQ, but this is wonderful validation,” Professor Roberts-Thomson said.

“HealthFusion Team Challenge provides a platform by which we can identify and integrate our health leaders of tomorrow.

“It’s a great environment to stamp yourself as an innovator who applies absolute best practice towards patient care.”

This year’s final was held at the Queensland University of Technology campus in Brisbane City.

An Indigenous HealthFusion Team Challenge will be held on Nov. 28–29 in Cairns, and UQ is actively seeking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to participate.

What makes up the UQ Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences?

Would you like more information about health science programs at the University of Queensland? Please contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, August 10th, 2015

V8 Supercar drivers chase accelerated results

The quest to find even the slightest advantage has led V8 Supercars team Brad Jones Racing to the University of Queensland.

UQ Health Sciences

Brad Jones Racing drivers Dale Wood, Jason Bright and Fabian Coulthard (Photo credit: University of Queensland)

Ahead of the Ipswich 400 at Queensland Raceway, the drivers rolled up for physical testing with UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences PhD candidate Justin Holland.

Fabian Coulthard, Jason Bright and Dale Wood spent time on a computerised simulator and had their strength, cardiovascular output, blood and body composition analysed.

“In this sport you are looking for any little edge you can get,” 500-race veteran Jason Bright said.

“The difference between fifth and fifteenth in V8 Supercars is 0.2 of a second over a lap.

“We’re constantly making tiny adjustments to our vehicles to shave the smallest margins off, so it makes sense we look at the drivers to see where we can do better.”

University of Queensland researcher Mr Holland, who also works with the Ipswich Jets rugby league team, said he believed improved fitness could contribute to better lap times.

The drivers reported using a variety of training methods to keeping fit, from boxing to swimming, running and cycling.

Mr Bright said race temperature inside a vehicle could reach 60 degrees Celsius and—with drivers wearing a helmet, gloves, balaclava and fire-retardant clothing—the ability to stave off fatigue was critical.

This season Mr Coulthard is positioned third in the rankings, with Mr Bright 13th and Mr Wood 20th.

“When I did my undergraduate at UQ it was always a passion and a dream to be working in the motorsports industry,” Mr Holland said.

“To have them come along today was an absolute godsend and I’m very grateful to Brad Jones Racing for making it happen.”

Mr Holland said UQ researchers had completed more than 220 laps of Bathurst’s famous Mount Panorama course on the driving simulator in preparation for the visit by Brad Jones Racing.

The best time posted by an academic was a respectable 2 minutes and 10 seconds, not far adrift of the 2:7.4 set last year on the actual track by V8 Supercars driver Chaz Mostert.

Mr Holland will continue to work with Brad Jones Racing in coming months, specifically in relation to testing driver hydration.

About the UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

The UQ School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences offers a range of high-quality undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the interdisciplinary areas of human movement and nutrition, which includes, but is not limited to, clinical exercise physiology, exercise science, health sport and physical education, dietetics and coaching.

The school provides world-leading staff and state-of-the-art facilities which provide students with a world-class education.

The university takes an interdisciplinary approach to research, which is critical to allow effective translation of research outcomes for policy and practice.

The school’s research is diverse and focuses on addressing multi-dimensional questions related to how and why humans move and obtain nutrition. Areas of focus include critical to health and disease prevention across the lifespan including exercise, physical activity and health, dietetics and nutrition, sensorimotor neuroscience, sport, physical and health education.

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Wondering about health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355. Find out how you can study in Australia!

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

UQ study shows nurses play vital role in care of terminally ill patients

A University of Queensland study has found nurses play a crucial role in decisions surrounding treatment of terminally ill patients.

UQ School of Social Science Associate Professor Alex Broom said dying patients who were told further treatment would be futile often turned to nurses for emotional support.

University of Queensland Nursing School

Study nursing at UQ School of Nursing and Midwifery

“The transition to end-of-life care has traditionally been the doctor’s decision,” Dr Broom said.

“The study shows how important nurses are in decisions about when life-prolonging treatments should end and in supporting patients and families in the process of accepting that they are dying.

“Nurses often bear the brunt of patient and family grief as the end of life nears.

“Nurses spend so much time with patients that they are often in a better position than doctors to know how patients are really coping with often highly toxic, technically life-prolonging treatments.

“The study found that patients would often put on a brave face when their doctor was present and then ask the nurse to tell the doctor they’d had enough.

“This can put the nurse in a difficult position professionally, placing them as mediator between doctor, patient and often-panicked family members.”

Nurses in the study said communicating with patients and families was much easier when doctors had already spoken openly and honestly with patients about the fact that it was time to stop active treatment.

“A major problem for nurses is that some doctors avoid difficult conversations; even continuing patients on active treatment, while others were rushed or blunt, leaving the nurse to explain the situation and provide emotional support to patients and their families,” Dr Broom said.

The study involved 20 Australian nurses from Brisbane hospitals, mostly consisting of cancer nurses.

The study explored their experiences of caring in the context of medical futility.

Nurses in the study emphasised the emotional toll of caring for patients and families at the end of life, the need to balance caring with protecting themselves from burnout, and the fact that there was very limited debriefing or counselling provided.

“It’s not uncommon for a nurse to have to walk out of a room where a patient they have known for months or years has just died, straight into a finance meeting or to treat another patient, without five minutes to themselves to reflect on the previous patient’s death,” Dr Broom said.

While the nurses discussed the rewards of being involved in the transition to end-of-life care, they emphasised the mounting pressures on the nursing profession to engage in technical, task-orientated work and how this could compromise their capacity to support patients nearing the end of life.

“The results of the study show that nurses play a much greater role than previously thought in decisions about medical futility, and that their role as a crucial mediator and support provider in this context is increasingly challenged by the growing unrealistic expectations placed on nurses working in Australian hospitals,” Dr Broom said.

University of Queensland Nursing School

The Master of Nursing Studies at the University of Queensland has been specifically designed to prepare you to apply to work as a registered nurse within two years of study. Students complete 32 courses, 16 of which are clinical, or two days clinical practice per week for the first year, three days a week in the third semester, and five days per week in the final semester. There are 1,010 hours of clinical practice throughout the program.

Program: Master of Nursing Studies
Location: St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 2 years

Apply to the Master of Nursing Studies at the UQ Nursing School!

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UQ Master of Social Work Studies

Social work is an exciting and rewarding career for those interested in working with people, and in addressing social and community issues and problems. Social workers play a key role in developing a society based on social justice, and in alleviating disadvantage. Social workers stimulate action to change the social circumstances of individuals and groups who are socially excluded. They also work to reduce personal pain and distress, and provide direction for individual development and control over life situations.

The Master of Social Work Studies enables people with an undergraduate degree to qualify as a social worker and gain a postgraduate degree. The program is accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW) and graduates will be eligible to join the Association on completion of the degree. The program is particularly suited to new graduates looking for a clearly defined career path, mid-life career changers, human service workers looking to upgrade their skills and become a qualified social worker, and international students seeking to work as a social worker in Australia or overseas.

Program: Master of Social Work Studies
Location: St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 1.5 – 2 years

Apply to the Master of Social Work Studies at UQ!

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Would you like more information about UQ Nursing School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Nursing Schools Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Monday, July 28th, 2014

UQ health sciences study to trial intense exercise to aid mental health

Can high-intensity exercise improve the physical and emotional health of people with mental illness? University of Queensland health sciences researchers are seeking volunteers to help find out.

Researchers from the Centre for Research on Exercise, Physical Activity and Health at the UQ School of Human Movement Studies hope to improve the well-being of people with mental illness by comparing high-intensity to moderate-intensity exercise.

University of Queensland health sciences

Can intense physical activity improve mental health?

PhD candidate Justin Chapman said the study provided an opportunity for people with mental health issues to undertake exercise training in a safe environment under expert supervision.

“People with mental illness tend to face psychosocial barriers to the uptake of exercise and a healthy lifestyle, which may contribute to the poor physical health and lower life expectancy experienced by this group,” Mr Chapman said. “We know exercise improves physical and mental health, quality of life and general well-being; however, very little is known about the effectiveness of different types of exercise, or what specific exercise programs suit people with mental illness.”

Mr Chapman said high-intensity interval training had health benefits for people with cardiovascular disease, but this would be the first study of its kind using the training in a mental health context.

“This type of training has gained rapid appreciation among clinicians because it increases fitness in a shorter timeframe than moderate-intensity continuous training, and it is suitable for people of all fitness levels” he said.

“As part of the study, participants will be randomly selected to take part in either high-intensity interval training or a moderate-intensity exercise program.

“They’ll complete a twelve-week exercise training program supervised by an exercise physiologist, with three sessions each week.”

Changes in aerobic fitness, physical activity, body composition, cardiovascular health and psychological well-being will be measured before and after the program.

“We are also interested in whether or not participants enjoy these exercise programs, and which one is most acceptable,” Mr Chapman said.

Participants must be 18 or older, receiving mental health services, and either have a mental illness, or have been experiencing symptoms such as depression, anxiety or stress for several weeks.  Participants need not be fit or physically active, and the exercise will be tailored to individuals’ abilities.

Testing and training will take place at a private gym at UQ’s St Lucia Campus, with parking provided.

UQ School of Human Movement Studies

The UQ School of Human Movement Studies is internationally renowned as one of Australia’s leading education and research centres in human movement sciences.

Researchers and academics draw on the biophysical and sociocultural sciences to extend, apply and transmit knowledge and understanding about human movement. Staff focus on many fields including exercise and sport sciences, health, sport, physical education, sport coaching, sport and exercise psychology, nutrition and dietetics.

The school provides leading-0edge education and research programs, as well as general and specialist services to elite athletes, the elderly, children, those suffering from chronic disease and people with disabilities. The goal is to promote health and well-being, and optimal physical performance, of individuals and populations of all ages.

Courses available include

  • Dietetics Studies
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Human Movement Science
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Do you have any questions about these health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355. Find out how you can study in Australia!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

UQ neuroscientists: controlling fear by modifying DNA

For many people, fear of flying or of spiders skittering across the lounge room floor is more than just a momentary increase in heart rate and a pair of sweaty palms.

UQ Health Sciences

Do you have snake phobia? UQ is finding a way to fix that

It’s a hard-core phobia that can lead to crippling anxiety, but an international team of researchers, including neuroscientists from University of Queensland’s Queensland Brain Institute (QBI), may have found a way to silence the gene that feeds this fear.

QBI senior research fellow Dr Timothy Bredy said the team had shed new light on the processes involved in loosening the grip of fear-related memories, particularly those implicated in conditions such as phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr Bredy said they had discovered a novel mechanism of gene regulation associated with fear extinction, an inhibitory learning process thought to be critical for controlling fear when the response was no longer required.

“Rather than being static, the way genes function is incredibly dynamic and can be altered by our daily life experiences, with emotionally relevant events having a pronounced impact,” Dr Bredy said.

He said that by understanding the fundamental relationship between the way in which DNA functions without a change in the underlying sequence, future targets for therapeutic intervention in fear-related anxiety disorders could be developed.

“This may be achieved through the selective enhancement of memory for fear extinction by targeting genes that are subject to this novel mode of epigenetic regulation,” he said.

Mr Xiang Li, a PhD candidate and the study’s lead author, said fear extinction was a clear example of rapid behavioural adaptation, and that impairments in this process were critically involved in the development of fear-related anxiety disorders.

“What is most exciting is that we have revealed an epigenetic state that appears to be quite specific for fear extinction,” Mr Li said.

Dr Bredy said this was the first comprehensive analysis of how fear extinction was influenced by modifying DNA.

“It highlights the adaptive significance of experience-dependent changes in the chromatin landscape in the adult brain,” he said.

The collaborative research is being done by a team from QBI, the University of California, Irvine, and Harvard University.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

About the Queensland Brain Institute

The Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) was established as a research institute of the University of Queensland in 2003. The institute is now operating out of a new $63 million state-of-the-art facility and houses 33 principal investigators with strong international reputations. QBI is one of the largest neuroscience institutes in the world dedicated to understanding the mechanisms underlying brain function.

Master of Neuroscience

The Master of Neuroscience at the University of Queensland is designed to provide advanced training in molecular, cellular and integrative (including behavioural) approaches to neuroscience. The program includes three core courses in cellular, cognitive behavioural and systems aspects of neuroscience and a series of laboratory rotations which provide firsthand experience in neuroscience research. The program provides a strong foundation in modern neuroscience for those wishing to pursue independent research and teaching careers in neuroscience.

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Find out more about studying neuroscience at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Rachel Brady for more information about the admission requirements and program details of the Master of Neuroscience at the University of Queensland. Email Rachel at rachel@oztrekk.com or call toll free in Canada at 1-866-698-7355.

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

UQ study may spark change in the design of running shoes

New insights into how foot muscles support the arch of the foot could spark a change in the design of running shoes, following a study led by the University of Queensland.

University of Queensland Health Sciences

UQ study may help build a better running shoe

The study’s findings are also expected to impact the treatment of foot conditions, the design of efficient prosthetic and robot limbs and improve understanding of how humans came to walk and run efficiently on two feet.

Dr Glen Lichtwark at UQ School of Human Movement Studies said the importance of muscles in moving a person’s legs was already well-known, but muscles in the foot had been deemed less important.

“Ligaments in the foot have generally been regarded as the main support for the foot arch, which helps us walk and run by acting as a spring,” Dr Lichtwark said.

“As you compress the arch it stretches the bottom of the arch and that causes some tension in the ligaments that store elastic energy, which can be released when you push off.

“Anatomical research suggests that muscles in the feet may also be important in supporting the arch of the foot as well and we were really interested in whether or not these muscles have any capacity to assist this function of the foot, ” he said.

Two experiments were conducted to investigate the role of muscles in the foot. The first experiment required seated participants to have a weight applied to their knee while the researchers studied activation of foot muscles, using needle electrodes.

“We found that after a certain amount of force was applied, these muscles started to activate and the more weight we applied, the more these muscles turned on,” Dr Lichtwark said.

In a second experiment researchers electrically stimulated the foot muscles under different loads.

“We found that as the muscles were stimulated, they caused the arch of the foot to rise, actively supporting the arch,” Dr Lichtwark said. “The muscles were basically acting as a parallel support to the ligaments effectively stiffening the foot.”

The researchers believe the findings may have implications for the design of running shoes.

“Running shoes should be designed to complement the function of the muscles rather than work against them,” Dr Lichtwark said.

“Because we think these muscles respond to how much load you put on them, if you put in some kind of cushioning effect on one side of the foot for instance, then that might slow the response of these muscles in being able to adjust to different surfaces or uneven terrain.”

The findings may also have implications for rehabilitation of muscular skeletal injuries and may lead to the design of exercise programs to strengthen foot muscles where there are problems with the arch.

The research was carried out as part of PhD research by Luke Kelly from the University of Queensland under the supervision of Dr Glen Lichtwark and Professor Andrew Cresswell who works as a sports podiatrist, in collaboration with Aspetar Orthopeadic and Sports Medicine Hospital, Doha, Qatar.

UQ School of Human Movement Studies

The School of Human Movement Studies is internationally renowned as one of Australia’s leading education and research centres in human movement sciences.

Researchers and academics draw on the biophysical and sociocultural sciences to extend, apply and transmit knowledge and understanding about human movement. Staff focus on many fields including exercise and sport sciences, health, sport, physical education, sport coaching, sport and exercise psychology, nutrition and dietetics.

The school provides leading-0edge education and research programs, as well as general and specialist services to elite athletes, the elderly, children, those suffering from chronic disease and people with disabilities. The goal is to promote health and well-being, and optimal physical performance, of individuals and populations of all ages.

Courses available include

  • Dietetics Studies
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology
  • Human Movement Science
  • Sports Coaching
  • Sports Medicine
  • Sport and Exercise Psychology

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Do you have any questions about these health science programs at the University of Queensland? Contact OzTREKK Australian Health Sciences Admissions Officer Rachel Brady at rachel@oztrekk.com or call 1-866-698-7355. Find out how you can study in Australia!