The 'social' gene: A study investigating social connectedness, health and happiness
A lot of research goes into understanding health – how to get people to stop smoking, or to start exercising. But did you know that one of the biggest health risks is not 'physical' but 'social'? People with more social contacts live longer - and social connectedness is one of the most robust predictors of health and happiness. This new project involves a 40 minute survey and is the first study in Australia to take both genes and environment into account to discover why joining groups can be conducive to mental and physical health. Twins aged 18 years and above with internet access are eligible to participate.
The Australian Twin Back Pain Study
Low back pain is the third most long term condition suffered by Australians – and is the most disabling condition worldwide. Researchers are keen to better understand the types of physical activities that cause and protect low back pain.
This 12 month research study is looking at the effects of different types and doses of physical activity on low back pain. Eligibility will be determined by those that have internet access, a smartphone (such as an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, HTC or similar) and an active email account, and where both twins do or do not have back pain.
Sleep quality and back pain
This new study is investigating the value of a sleep quality program in people with low back pain and insomnia. This six-week online study requires adults with internet access and a history of low back pain and insomnia to participate (subject to a screening questionnaire).
Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire
The Health and Lifestyle Questionnaire was developed for ATR members, and ideally we would like all of our members to complete it as it is the best way to ensure we invite twins to participate in the studies most relevant to them. It asks about a range of topics including a member’s background, health conditions and lifestyle. Invitations to complete the Health & Lifestyle Questionnaire are sent via email to all current ATR members over one year of age where both (or the parents of junior twins) have a valid e-mail address.
The Older Australian Twins Study Amyloid Imaging Project
This important study has been recruiting twins for more than nine years and has made a substantial contribution to understanding brain ageing. The researchers have new funding to take a more in-depth look at how the brain ages by obtaining brain images of ‘plaques’ which contain the amyloid protein - a known predictor of memory decline.
All current participants will be invited to join this new phase and the researchers are also keen to recruit new pairs over the age of 65 years from Victoria and NSW.
A Twin Study of the Naplan (National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy)
In this study the researchers are using the results of twins, other multiples, and siblings to help identify the genetic and environmental factors that influence how well a child performs in these tests. This information will be important for developing advice about measures that parents and educational authorities can take to help all children reach their full potential in school. It will also inform policy-makers about the roles of schools and teachers in children's rates of academic progress. All twins who have sat the Naplan in the past or will do so in 2015 are eligible.
Why do some people consume excess fat?
Obesity is an important public health issue. It is a condition that can have serious health consequences, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and type-2 diabetes. Researchers from Deakin University are interested in whether genetics play an important role in how much fat one consumes. This study, which is about taste (not weight change), is asking twin pairs to take part in an eight-week program where each twin pair will be randomly placed on either a high or low fat food program. All twins aged 16-years-plus, and able to attend Deakin University Sensory Lab in Melbourne, are eligible to participate.
Type-2 diabetes and brain function
This study is exploring how type-2 diabetes contributes to the risk of dementia. It is open to twin pairs aged 50 years and over, where only one twin has type-2 diabetes.
To learn more about any of our studies and to express an interest in participating, please visit this link.
If you are interested in providing us with feedback about the ATR and/or your involvement in our research projects, you can do so via our member satisfaction survey.