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Professor Vaughan Macefield Visits NYU FD Center
World renowned expert in the study of nerve fibers
explores sympathetic response in FD patients

 Editor's note: this article is one in a series of articles describing the work of experts who collaborate with doctors and researchers at the NYU Dysautonomia Center. Please check our News page, or follow us on facebook, to learn about other experts who have taken an interest in treatment and research for FD.

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. Horacio Kaufmann.
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.





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