Here you will find our current research and medical advisors, their roles and responsibilities and the current research and treatment trials being carried out.
MdDS Australia Scientific/Medical Advisory Board
- Associate Professor Alan Pearce, neurophysiologist, PhD. Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport, in the School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne. Specifically his research program, using electro physiological techniques, particularly transcranial magnetic stimulation, centres on brain physiology to quantify cognitive and motor impairments. With 20 years experience in TMS and electrophysiology techniques, Alan also investigates neuroplastic changes following peripheral injury, balance disorders, exercise interventions and rehabilitation. His treatment trials using rTMS are promising and were published in the Journal of Neuropsychology 2015. However, more funding and support is needed in order to follow upon the same
- Dr Cherylea Browne, is a lecturer in Human Anatomy at Western Sydney University. Cherylea has recently started a MdDS research group due to her own MdDS diagnosis in 2015. Her interests include the underlying hormonal aspects of MdDS and autonomic nervous system maladaptation in MdDS patients.
- Dr Shaun Watson, neurologist. Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Shaun practices out of Blacktown and Randwick in NSW. He is affliated with the Prince of Wales Hospital, Randwick in Sydney
- Dr Luke Chen, neurologist. MBBS FRACP PhD.Dr Luke Chen and practices both out of Sydney and Melbourne. For Sydney, please contact Sydney Neurology, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney For Melbourne, Neurology Network, Melbourne He trained in neurology at Austin and Alfred Hospitals in Melbourne, before moving to Sydney to complete a fellowship in hearing and balance disorders (neuro-otology) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and University of Sydney. He practiced as a consultant neurologist at the MS Society clinic, Brain and Mind Centre. He holds a PhD from University of Sydney in quantitative vestibular abnormalities in neurological disorders. Dr Chen practices as a general neurologist, and has particular subspecialty interests in neuro-otology, vestibular physiology, neuro-ophthalmology and eye movement disorders in neurological diseases such as acute stroke, multiple sclerosis and movement disorders.
- Dr. Viviana Mucci (Ph.D) a postdoc researcher from University of Zurich and currently affiliated to the Swiss Concussion Centre, Schulthess Klinik in Switzerland. Viviana was awarded in November 2018 with the Future Science Early Career Research Award, following her work on Mal de Debarquement Syndrome performed during her Ph.D. She completed her Ph.D. program in the field of Neurotology in July 2018 from Antwerp University, Faculty of Medical Science. Her background involves a BSc in Medical Physiology (University of East London, UK), which she completed with distinction in 2012 and a MSc in Space Physiology and Health from King’s College London (UK), where she graduated in 2013. Since her Ph.D. Viviana’s work has been focusing on continuing investigating Mal de Debarquement Syndrome. She currently continues treating MdDS patients in Switzerland (Zurich and Geneva). At the same time she is also brining forward a new frontiers of sensory integration in patients affected by post concussion syndrome. She is assessing specifically the presence of Visually Induced Dizziness and a visual sensitivity in professional athletes after multiple concussions, at the Swiss Concussion Centre. Although the vestibular knowledge has grown over the last few decades there are still many pieces of this remarkable system that remain to be addressed. This lack of knowledge is a strong drive for Viviana to continue pursuing research in this particular field.
- Dr Mingjia Dai, PhD, Assistant Professor, Neurology, Mt Sinai, NYC, USA – sadly passed away February 2019
Roles and Responsibilities
– To provide wise counsel, advice, clarification and updates on clinical issues, information and research pertaining to MdDS for MdDS Australia
– Encourage and support MdDS Australia as a patient support group
– Provide networking opportunities within the scope of other medical professionals treating/researching MdDS for MdDS Australia.
– Encourage peers to raise awareness of MdDS
Research and Treatment Trials
Repetitive Trans Magnetic Stimulation
Research and trial treatments in Australia firstly came about in 2013. following a phone call Alan Pearce received from a desperate lady seeking a diagnosis and treatment for her Mother with MdDS. He used rTMS (repetitive trans magnetic stimulation) treatment and went on to trial treatments with patients with MdDS in late 2014. The treatment is a noninvasive procedure using magnetic fields to stimulate the brain. His results were promising and can be found in the Journal of Neuropsychology, 2015. However more funding is required to continue this research and treatment.
Optokinetic Stimulation is a protocol developed by Dr Mingjia Dai at Mt Sinai in NYC. Optokinetic stimulation involves rolling the head from side to side whilst watching a full-field visual stimulus. In the USA, the success rate has been reported at 60%. But more long term data is required to adequately determine the above.
Treatment of a similar nature, based on the protocol developed by Dr Mingjia Dai, is being carried out in Australia. And again, more long term data is required from this to determine the effectiveness as a successful treatment.
Mal de Debarquement Research Group
Based at the University of Western Sydney, Dr Cherylea Browne, her research aims to contribute to the understanding of the underlying mechanisms of MdDS. Specifically, this study seeks to collate data regarding the basic clinical features of MdDS, which might be unidentified or overlooked due to the subjective nature of the condition.