Do signals transmitted through the nerve
fibers of people with FD behave the same way as in ordinary
people? As the doctors and researchers at the NYU FD Center
grapple with the mysteries of the unique problems of the nervous
system in people
with FD, they have enlisted the help of experts from around the world to
help explore FD physiology.
One such visiting expert is Professor Vaughan Macefield from the University of Western Sydney in Australia.
Professor Macefield visited the NYU FD Center in early April to
collaborate with the Center's Director of Clinical Research, Dr.
According to Dr. Kaufmann,
"This study brings us closer to understanding FD at a whole new level.
Knowing how the nerves work will allow us to develop better treatments for the future."
Using microneurography, in which a tungsten microelectrode is inserted through the skin and
into a peripheral nerve of an awake human subject,
Prof. Macefield taps into neural signals going to and coming
from the brain. He is one of the few researchers in the world to
master this technique, and he is the first and only researcher
to apply it to FD patients.
Working with Dr. Kaufmann's research team, Prof. Macefield
applied the technique to several FD adults and teenagers to
collect data on how signals are transmitted between the brain
and muscles in FD patients. Prof. Macefield has extensive data
on how this process works in ordinary people, but this study
will help the research team understand how the process varies
for people with FD.
Prof Macefield and researchers from the NYU FD Center conducting
microneurography studies on a dysautonomia patient.
Prof. Vaughan Macefield
Prof Macefield is Foundation Chair of Integrative Physiology at the School of Medicine,
University of Western Sydney, and a Conjoint Principal Research Fellow at the Prince of Wales
Medical Research Institute.
A former NMHRC Senior Research Fellow, he completed his PhD in
neurophysiology at UNSW in 1986, and undertook advanced training in human neurophysiology in Sweden
and the US, before establishing his own laboratories at Prince of Wales Medical Research Institute in 1994.
He specializes in recording from single nerve fibers via tungsten microelectrodes inserted into the peripheral
nerves of awake human subjects, and is known nationally and internationally as a world expert in recording the
firing properties of human sympathetic neurons (e.g. those supplying blood vessels) in health and disease and
as a leading investigator in human sensorimotor control.