Dr Anna Hatton
The University of Queensland
Falling is a serious threat to the health and well-being of older adults and people with neurological conditions, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. Dr Hatton’s work focuses on discovering new footwear features, which have the capacity to alter the function of nerves and senses, to ultimately change the way the body moves and its ability to remain upright, preventing these falls. The specially-designed textured insoles stimulate skin receptors on the soles of the feet, helping the brain become more aware of the position and ‘feel’ of the feet, leading to better walking patterns in ageing and disease populations. This footwear offers a simple, affordable means to assist in reducing the risk of falls. This research is critical to advance rehabilitation programs for a range of patients prone to falling, and could have major financial impact, preventing injury and improving independent living.
Anna has taken many opportunities to communicate with students, public and professional audiences about ‘Healthy Ageing’. She was one of only 39 early-career researchers worldwide, selected to participate in ‘Straight Talking Science’: a communications workshop for emerging entrepreneurial scientists. Anna was also invited to Government House, Queensland on ‘World Multiple Sclerosis Day 2014’, to discuss advances in rehabilitation strategies.