The Foundation for Prader-Willi Research and the Prader-Willi Research Foundation Australia are jointly supporting a new research project, led by Dr. Nora Shields of La Trobe University, evaluating the effects of exercise training in individuals with PWS.
Funding provided by the two organizations will provide top-up funding for a PhD scholarship from La Trobe University in Melbourne. The PhD scholar will join a team of researchers who have received funding from the Australian government, through the Medical Research Future Fund: Rare Cancers, Rare Diseases and Unmet Need program.
“People with PWS have smaller and weaker muscles which makes it difficult for them to do daily activities, to exercise and to control their weight.” Professor Shields said. “Exercise could help people with PWS build up their muscles, burn off extra calories and encourage them to become more active.”
In this study, Dr. Shields, a Professor of Physiotherapy, will oversee a 6-month exercise program and evaluate whether the program makes it easier for people with PWS to complete daily tasks and is cost-effective.
“We’re excited to partner with the Prader-Willi Research Foundation of Australia to accelerate this important study. Optimizing exercise in PWS is critical to helping individuals with PWS lead active, healthy and fulfilling lives”, said Theresa Strong, Director of Research Programs for the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research.
“PWRFA is sharply focused on improving life outcomes for people with PWS and their families and we are proud to be partnering with our international colleagues on this important study,” said Kathleen Jones, CEO of the Prader-Willi Research Foundation Australia.
Outcomes of this study will improve clinical care for people with PWS by making available online resources and best practice to help families, exercise professionals, and health agencies implement appropriate exercise training regimens for people with PWS.
Professor Shields will collaborate with La Trobe colleagues Professor Nicholas Taylor, Professor Christine Bigby, and Associate Professor Luke Prendergast, as well as researchers from the University of Melbourne, the University of Sydney, and Deakin University.
Several hospitals around Australia will also take part in the trial.