Schizophrenia research, Tracey and mum

Donate to help those suffering the anguishing roller-coaster of schizophrenia

Tracey lives in southern Sydney. She volunteers at her local community TV station, attends a regular sewing group with friends, and lives in a loving home with her parents. But she has suffered the anguishing roller-coaster of schizophrenia. For over twenty years, Tracey has periodically heard voices. Often, they are cruel and hurtful. They mar her friendships, family and daily life.

“It’s like a struggle in my brain. Half of me knows the voices are not real, but there’s another half which says they are… that strangers in the street are saying these awful things about me.”

Not only does schizophrenia induce hallucinations and delusions in some people, it can also inhibit people’s learning. NeuRA’s Dr Thomas Weickert researches the causes of schizophrenia and potential new treatments.

You can help fund vital aspects of NeuRA’s research which government does not support. This includes equipment, MRI scans, drugs for new treatment trials, and scholarships for our brightest doctoral research students.

Thank you.

Tracey lives in southern Sydney. She volunteers at her local community TV station, attends a regular sewing group with friends, and lives in a loving home with her parents. But she has suffered the anguishing roller-coaster of schizophrenia. For over twenty years, Tracey has periodically heard voices. Often, they are cruel and hurtful. They mar her friendships, family and daily life.

“It’s like a struggle in my brain. Half of me knows the voices are not real, but there’s another half which says they are… that strangers in the street are saying these awful things about me.”

Not only does schizophrenia induce hallucinations and delusions in some people, it can also inhibit people’s learning. NeuRA’s Dr Thomas Weickert researches the causes of schizophrenia and potential new treatments.

Tracey and others participated in Tom’s study to discover whether very weak electrical stimulus through her scalp would help her brain’s learning. She watched a computer which showed a “sunny or rainy weather” image and shape-coded symbol cards appearing at the same time. With repetition, people sub-consciously “learn” the relationship between card combinations and the occurrence of rain or sunshine. However some people with schizophrenia do not learn the relationships.

Dr Weickert’s “weather prediction” study identified about half of those with schizophrenia who had capacity to learn, and showed improvement with the treatment. This means there’s the tantalising possibility that this could help other people. But not enough funding is available to complete the next stage with more participants and a longer treatment period.

Please, consider an urgent gift to support NeuRA’s vital schizophrenia research. Your gift will help to discover the causes of the disease, and ultimately better treatment and cures. When you give, you are affirming that people with mental illnesses deserve improved care and our compassionate support.

Support our research today

Many researchers are working at NeuRA to discover the causes of, and ultimately find treatments or cures for, schizophrenia. Lifetime care for people with schizophrenia is a burden to society in addition to the burden on family, friends, and the people themselves. We urgently need to improve the future for people living with this terrible disease. Statistics show that almost 1% of Australians will experience schizophrenia during their lifetime.

Schizophrenia is most likely caused by the combined actions of genes and the environment. NeuRA’s scientists have made important discoveries. For example, Professor Cyndi Shannon Weickert and her research team have found that at least 40% of people with schizophrenia have higher than normal immune activity in the brain. Now they plan to test whether an existing anti-inflammatory drug might reduce symptoms. However the study is currently not funded.

“Our research will eventually provide the knowledge to allow personalised treatment. Ideally, a person with schizophrenia will get the best combination of medication, psychological treatment and community support for their individual needs and particular disease causes. This way, there’s the most effective use of health system resources, and the least risk of the harmful drug side-effects,” says Professor Shannon Weickert.

Your donation will help fund vital aspects of NeuRA’s research which government does not support. This includes equipment, MRI scans, drugs for new treatment trials, and scholarships for our brightest doctoral research students.

Tracey’s words are straight from the heart:

“Please give. Researchers need more to work on better treatments. Schizophrenia affects young and old. Without even knowing it, you might be helping your friends or family now or in the future.”

Thank you.