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Issue 28, Spring 2020

In this edition:

Second wave COVID-19 research looks at longer term impact

As we enter ten months since COVID-19 was confirmed in Australia, we are all experiencing the pandemic in different ways. Melburnians, for example, are currently seeing an easing of a range and length of restrictions that were not experienced anywhere else in Australia. TRA Director, Professor John Hopper, says our COVID-19 research has never been more important as our Wave 2 Adult Survey is rolled out across Australia.

“Our initial Wave 1 Adult Survey showed the massive impact of the pandemic on people in the short-term and how quickly it affected every aspect of our lives,” he says. “Wave 2 will look at medium and longer-term affects, and provide insights into the changing and different experiences of people wherever they are in Australia.”

We thank our members who’ve already completed Wave 2 and we’d welcome more participants (check your inbox for the ‘Wave 2’ study invite or let us know at if you’d like it resent). Please note this survey closes 13 November 2020.

New twin research shows pandemic’s impact on families

“Although juggling remote learning and work commitments was a particular challenge for many families, most parents thought that they and their children were coping quite well, with many reporting the pandemic had brought their families closer together. Twins seemed to have coped particularly well, adjusting to the restrictions better than both their siblings and parents.”

These are some of the key findings from Wave 1 Parents of Junior Twins/HOMs Survey just released by Twins Research Australia (and is separate from our adult twin COVID-19 surveys – see previous story), providing insights into how the pandemic is impacting families across Australia. More detailed findings are outlined in this infographic.

We thank the over 1000 parents of junior twins and HOM’s who participated in the study - without your support this important research would not be possible. We are planning further surveys over coming months to explore how families’ experiences are changing over the course of the pandemic. We’ll keep you posted via email and we hope you can join us.

Risk or reward: what influences our everyday decision making?

“It’s a unique study.… it really made us think about what risks we would take,” say South Australian twins, Carolyn Chizmesya and Jane Mitchell. TRA is supporting an innovative new study to better understand the genetic and environmental influences on our everyday decision making. The online survey includes questions about your willingness to take risks when making a variety of decisions and includes a component whereby researchers pay you in real dollars (an amount between $0-$37) to understand how you make decisions in real-life situation with really money at stake.

You and your twin will also go into a prize draw with the chance to win an iPad mini each or shopping vouchers. The study is open to all twins - identical and non-identical - aged 18-65 years. Find out more about the study, and Carolyn and Jane share their experiences here

What can twins teach us about resilience? 

Thanks to our twin members who have been involved in Dr Justine Gatt’s studies to better understand factors in resilience for over a decade. Based on her research with twins, she shares some tips - along with other experts - to help our wellbeing and resilience in these challenging times. Read more

Dr Gatt is currently undertaking a new phase of her twin research, The Resilience Study, which is open to twins who participated in the previous Emotional Wellbeing Study 10-years-ago. Thank you to those who’ve already participated. If you haven’t yet responded, there is still time – the study closes 31 December 2020. Check your inbox for email, ‘TWIN-10 Study’, from Dr Justine Gatt's team (please note this is separate from TRA’s COVID-19 surveys). If you can’t find it, please let us know at and we can re-send it. Further details about the study available here

Addicted to the sun? It’s in your genes

This breakthrough study into the genetic factors of sun-seeking behaviour has particular relevance to Australia, which has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The UK study, including 2500 twins, found sun-seeking behaviour is linked to genes involved in addiction, behavioural and personality traits, and brain function. This means that people's behaviour towards seeking sun is complicated by a genetic predisposition, and it is important for it to be taken into account when designing skin cancer awareness campaigns. Learn more

The Wiggles doubly happy with the birth of twins

If you or mini members of your family are fans of the Australian children’s music group, The Wiggles, you’ll be excited to hear Purple Wiggle, Lachie Gillespie, has become a new father of twin daughters - or Double Wigglers as some wags are calling them! The Wiggles are marking this special occasion with the release of a new song, Double Happy, a celebration of all-things-two. Watch it here

And even more studies to join in...

As well as studies mentioned earlier, we have many more open to twins of all ages, identical and non-identical. Learn more about our studies for children (e.g. neurodevelopment disorders) and adults (e.g. breast cancer, atrial fibrillation, and health and lifestyle). Often it is as simple as completing an online questionnaire, which can provide invaluable research data. Learn more

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Copyright 2017: Twins Research Australia, Level 3, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Victoria 3010. TRA is a national resource supported by a Centre of Research Excellence Grant from the National Health and Medical Research Council and administered by the University of Melbourne.

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