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Putting heads together to find a way around brain disease

News story

The brain is a complex maze but advances in neuroscience have helped researchers learn more about it in the past two decades than in previous centuries combined.

Researchers at the Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute (CHIRI) are hopeful that better outcomes for patients with degenerative brain diseases such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are closer than ever.

The institute is recruiting participants for a study helping its researchers explore a promising research lead.

The study is assessing how people respond to meals containing commonly consumed dietary oils and the effectiveness of these oils to influence blood metabolites that positively regulate capillary vessel function.

Capillaries are microscopic blood vessels that are critical for brain function and mental health and keep the brain isolated and protected from infectious diseases.

CHIRI researchers have discovered that brain capillaries become increasingly leaky with age and that poor dietary behaviour accelerates this process. Capillaries that persistently leak cause silent inflammation, which can increase the risk of developing degenerative brain diseases. However, dietary behaviour can also strengthen brain capillaries and reduce disease risk, which is the part researchers are keen to investigate further.

Study participants will consume meals containing a plant-derived oil, or no oil, with several small blood samples taken for analysis.

If selected, you will receive a range of results from the study (glucose, cholesterol and a blood lipid profile) that are relevant to heart health. You would also receive a voucher for your time commitment upon the study’s completion.

Ideally, participants would be:

  • People aged 20-70 years
  • Generally healthy and non-smokers
  • Able to attend three visits to Curtin University’s Bentley Campus
  • A new participant in the study – people who participated or were previously screened for last year’s study are ineligible for this year’s study

To arrange a pre-study screening to see if you qualify, please register your interest through the Eventbrite page or contact CHIRI on 0404 411 589 or email

You can find out more about CHIRI on our website or Facebook page.

By participating in this study you will be supporting CHIRI’s work to identify new prevention and treatment strategies for age-associated diseases.