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. We have now filled our quota for identical female twins but would like more non-identical twins to participate. All participants go into a draw to win one of four iPad Airs or 20 x $50 Coles Myer gift cards.
Genetics of Epilepsy: A twin approach
A new research study is investigating the role of epigenetics in epilepsy. Although our genes are very important in making us who we are, they are only a part of the picture because the way they operate is influenced by environmental factors. This phenomenon is called epigenetics. This research hopes to improve understanding into the causes of epilepsy, which could then improve treatment options in the future. This project involves a 45 minute interview as well as a collection of blood and a cheek sample.
Twin pairs in which one has epilepsy and the other does not, are eligible to participate.
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.
Menopause and Bone Health
The purpose of the study is to understand how bone structure changes during menopause and how hormonal factors contribute to bone loss and bone fragility.
It involves a short questionnaire over the phone and a visit to the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne to undergo a bone density scan – this is a great way to get a free bone health check up! Female twins aged 60 plus who are able to visit Heidelberg are eligible to participate.
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 and triplets who have sat the Naplan in the past, or will do so this year, 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. It involves an MRI, questionnaire amongst other tests and measurements and is for twins aged 50-years plus who live in Melbourne or are able to travel to Melbourne over a period of 2 days. The researchers will cover travel costs to Melbourne.
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.