ND Australia Open Seminar Series
Coming soon! ND Australia is launching a webinar series highlighting the exceptional studies the experts in our network are currently conducting.
The webinars will introduce the latest in neurodevelopmental research.
Our experts will discuss the aims and outcomes of their studies and explore the various challenges and areas of focus that ND Australia addresses.
Over the next few months, Dr. Kelsie Boulton, Professor Peter Enticott and Associate Professor Gillinder Bedi will be joining us to share their latest research and the new developments in their fields.
Check back here for more details on dates and times as they are announced.
Pharmaceutical-Assisted Psychotherapy for Social Anxiety in Autistic Youth
Young autistic adults experience high rates of mental ill-health, with social anxiety a particularly common issue. Social anxiety can interfere with daily living and may lead to substantial distress. While antidepressants and cognitive behavioural treatments are effective for some, many young autistic people with do not respond to standard treatments, and can experience negative effects.
There is a clear need for new types of support. A small body of research suggests that a new type of treatment – which uses psychoactive medications to enhance psychotherapy – may safely and effectively reduce social anxiety in autistic people. We are conducting a multi-site placebo-controlled study to test the effects of this approach – using the psychoactive medication 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) combined with psychotherapy – to treat social anxiety in young autistic adults.
This presentation will provide an overview of the study, and we hope that the community will provide input into the study aims, approach and implementation.
Associate Professor Gillinder Bedi, Senior Research Fellow, Melbourne University and Orygen
Professor Peter Enticott, Associate Dean, Research, Faculty of Health, Deakin University
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation in Neurodevelopmental Conditions
Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), have emerged as safe and effective non-pharmacological interventions for a range of conditions, including depression, addiction, migraine, pain, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
In Australia, TMS for treatment-resistant depression was funded by Medicare for the first time in 2021. While TMS is used clinically for several conditions, including “off-label” use in neurodevelopmental conditions, the evidence base is often limited.
Here I will provide an overview of TMS, including the history of this technique, how it works, and evidence for its safety and efficacy. I will then discuss and evaluate international efforts to development a TMS-based intervention for neurodevelopmental conditions, including our current multisite trial in autism.
Dr. Kelsie Boulton
Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney