VOLUNTEERS are being sought for a Charles Sturt University research project that might be a world first.
The project, which will examine how exercise changes someone with a mental disorder, is being conducted by researchers including Dr Tegan Hartmann, a “sporty child growing up” who has gone on to develop a career in exercise science as an academic.
“There are certain elements that we know a lot about, but there are whole grey areas of physical mechanisms and responses that we really don’t know about,” she said.
Researchers are looking for volunteers in the Bathurst area who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety, and those who have never had a mental disorder.
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“While previous research has investigated the effect of exercise on symptoms associated with mental disorders, very few have examined the physiological changes that result in improved symptoms,” Dr Hartmann said.
“This research is one of the first studies to examine the effect of exercise on immune function, sleep and brain activity in people with a mental disorder, and it will help us to understand how exercise can influence the physiology of someone with a mental disorder.”
The research requires volunteers to participate in three exercise training sessions per week for 12 weeks.
The sessions will be run by CSU exercise scientists at the CSU Exercise Physiology Labs, and will be free for participants.
Volunteers can be male or female and need to be aged from 18 to 65 years.
Dr Hartmann says a total of 30 people are required: 15 who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety; and 15 who have never had a mental disorder.
Volunteers must also have no history of, or current, thyroid disease, stroke, head trauma, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease or other neuromotor disorders or psychotic symptoms, hypertension, diabetes, inflammatory conditions, or cognitive impairment; not be pregnant or breastfeeding; and not be participating in more than 150 minutes of exercise per week.
The exercise training will be conducted at Charles Sturt in Bathurst, starting in September and continuing through to the end of November.
Participants will receive a personal report at the end.
The research requires participants’ verbal and written consent, and they can withdraw from the research at any time without penalty.
To participate in the research, contact Dr Tegan Hartmann on 6338 4067 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org