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Rachael is a registered psychologist with broad research interests including neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry, and neurodegenerative diseases. Her PhD research (completed at 3DN in 2015) included the establishment and comprehensive characterisation of a cohort of adult males who carry premutation expansions of the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. Carriers of the FMR1 premutation are at risk of developing fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome (FXTAS); a neurodegenerative disorder characterised by the progressive development of intention tremor, gait ataxia, parkinsonsism and cognitive decline. Her research integrates data obtained from neuropsychological, neuromotor, and psychiatric assessments, together with structural neuroimaging and FMR1 measures to determine the interrelationships between clinical, radiological and genetic markers among this cohort.
Bachelor of Psychology (Honours); Master of Brain and Mind Sciences; Ph.D.
Birch, R. C., Hocking, D. R., Cornish, K. M., Menant, J. C., Georgiou-Karistianis, N., Godler, D., Wen, W., Hackett, A., Rogers, C., & Trollor, J. N. (2015). Preliminary evidence of an effect of cerebellar volume on postural sway in FMR1 premutation males. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14(3): 251-9. doi: 10.1111/gbb.12204
Birch, R. C., Cornish, K. M., Hocking, D. R., Trollor, J. N. (2014). Understanding the neuropsychiatric phenotype of fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome: a systematic review. Neuropsychology Review, 24(4): 491-513. doi: 10.1007/s11065-014-9262-9
Hall, D. A., Birch, R. C., Anheim, M., Jonch, A. E., Pintadio, E., O’Keefe, J., Trollor, J. N., Stebbins, G. T., Hagerman, R. J., Fahn, S., Berry-Kravis, E., & Leehey, M. A. (2014). Emerging topics in FXTAS. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 6(1):31. doi: 10.1186/1866-1955-6-31
Cvejic, E., Birch, R. C., & Vollmer-Conna, U. (2016). Cognitive dysfunction in chronic fatigue syndrome: a review of recent evidence. Current Rheumatology Reports,18(5):24. doi: 10.1007/s11926-016-0577-9.
Birch, R. C., Hocking, D. R., & Trollor, J. N. Prevalence and predictors of subjective memory complaints in adult male carriers of the FMR1 premutation. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, In press.
Birch, R. C., Cornish, K. M., Hocking, D. R., Trollor, J. N. (2013). Cognitive and neuropsychiatric features of fragile X-associated tremor ataxia syndrome: A systematic review. The First International Conference on the FMR1 Premutation: Basic Mechanisms and Clinical Involvement, Perugia, Italy.
Birch, R. C., Cornish, K. M., Hocking, D. R., Trollor, J. N. (2011). An examination of neuromotor and brain ‘signatures’ in FMR1 premutation carriers. Fragile X Association Research Symposium, Brisbane, QLD, Australia