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Current BHRC studies looking for participants

The following research studies are looking for participants. If you are interested in helping further neuroscience research and fit the criteria of any of the studies then please get in touch.

Volunteering and Health Study

The aim of this research is to test whether volunteering in the community affects older adults’ health and wellbeing.

We are seeking 200 people who meet the following criteria:

  • Aged between 65 and 75 years
  • Retired for at least 6 months (not in part- or full-time paid employment)
  • Not currently volunteering (volunteering once a month or less often is allowed)
  • Have basic mobility (able to get around independently)
  • No diagnosis of dementia or other neurological conditions
  • Normal vision (glasses or contact lenses are allowed)

As a participant in the study, your time commitment will involve:

  • Two ~1-hour sessions held six months apart in the Psychology Department at the University of Otago. You will be reimbursed $20 for each session.
  • Volunteering in the community for at least 2 hours each week for 6 months.

To be involved in this project, or if you have any questions, please contact Hayley Guiney at:

Department of Psychology, University of Otago

Email: hayley.guiney@psy.otago.ac.nz   Phone: (03) 479 4077

Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease Carers

We are currently seeking volunteers to take part in a study to determine what makes a carer effective, the skills and resources involved, and how to make carers feel valued. The participants must be available to take part in a single 60 minute interview at a time and venue convenient to them.

In order to qualify for this study the participant must care for an individual who is:

  • 65 years of age or older
  • has dementia or Alzheimer's Disease

More information about the study and contact information is available here.

[This project has been reviewed and approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee. Reference: 16/029]

EEG Biofeedback for memory

We are currently seeking volunteers to participate in a brain training programme called Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback to see whether the programme can improve your memory. If you would like to participate, we’ll invite you to take a 30 minute test of memory and other thinking skills. If you score below a certain number on the test, we’ll invite you back to participate in the Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback training program. We have developed a training procedure to train specific patterns of brain activity in a part of the brain called the Posterior Cingulate Cortex (PCC). We think that training specific activity in this part of the brain might be able to improve people's memory.

If you are invited to participate in the biofeedback training you will come in for 15 sessions of brain training. We will place an EEG cap on your head which will record your brain activity. This will be fed through to a computer, which will display the activity back to you. We'll get you to learn how to change the activity.

We are looking for:

  • Men and Women
  • Aged over 40
  • Who have not been diagnosed with dementia

This study is being conducted by Dr Nick Cutfield (Neurology), Professor Dirk De Ridder (Neurosurgery), Associate Professor Patrick Manning (Endocrinology), and Timothy Galt (Research Student).

If you would like to participate, or have any other questions please feel free contact us, please contact Timothy Galt galti542@student.otago.ac.nz or 022-1052320.

[This study had been approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health) under the title “EEG Biofeedback for Memory”, reference H15/127]

Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

We are looking for

  • Men and women
  • 18 years and older and living in the Dunedin community
  • Have not been diagnosed with dementia or any other neurological condition
  • Have experienced changes in your memory or thinking that cause you or your family and friends concern, or you may have been diagnosed by a health professional has having mild cognitive impairment.

This is a joint study with the Auckland University of Technology.

For more information please contact Jane Reynolds bhrc@otago.ac.nz or 479-4066.