We’re finding novel and exciting new ways of maintaining optimal mental health as the brain faces new triggers and stressors as it moves from adolescence into adulthood.
Across Australia and our communities, there has been an unprecedented rise in disorders that impact on decision-making, mood and sleep. In our consumer-driven world, there are ever-increasing ways our brains can become addicted to a myriad of rewards that can have a long-lasting insidious impact on our lives. For example, up to 500,000 Australians are currently experiencing gambling and related addictive behaviours (alcohol, smoking). Up to two in three Australians are overweight or obese, with an increasing rate of compulsive eaters showing an addictive relationship with food. These behaviours can often be exacerbated by other mental health symptoms that include anxiety and depression, which affects one in seven Australians. Other risk factors such as poor sleep hygiene cannot only influence decision-making and mood, but can increase risk for accidents and injuries; most notably Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the leading cause of disability in individuals aged 45 years and younger.
At the Turner Institute, we want to equip adults with the capacity to maintain healthy, resilient brains in the face of ever-increasing demands and expectations.
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“Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death in young adults and a major cause of death and disability across all age groups. Each year in Australia, the lifetime care costs alone of the 2,500 or so people newly injured total almost $11 billion. The improvements in services and supports that result from research efforts like The Turner Institute are absolutely crucial to optimising the lived experience of people with this disability.”
- NICK RUSHWORTH, EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BRAIN INJURY AUSTRALIA
Our areas of research expertise include:
- Providing optimal novel lifestyle interventions for addictive and compulsive disorders (virtual reality, cognitive training, exercise, brain stimulation, mindfulness)
- Cognitive and brain mechanisms of compulsive eating and developing real-world interventions to promote healthy eating habits
- Ensuring approaches to understanding and treating mental and neurological disorders is non-stigmatising and respects each person’s rights and preferences
- Understanding how sleep determines the effects of recovery from trauma
- Optimising daily sleep-wake rhythms for better sleep and mental health, including personalised measurements of exposure to light using wearable technologies
- Management and neurorehabilitation of cognitive and behavioural dysfunction following TBI