With recent changes to restrictions, we anticipate the BDNF trial will open soon when face to face treatment resumes but in the meantime we welcome expressions of interest for this trial.


Please feel free to contact us at 1800 514 905 or leave your contact details via the ‘Register interest’ button. You might also be interested in learning more about the IMPACT trial which also investigates treatments for PTSD and is presently still open for recruitment through telehealth.


This trial is investigating whether aerobic exercise, in combination with psychological treatment, can improve PTSD symptoms.


Do you believe you may have developed posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after experiencing a trauma? If YES, you may be eligible to receive FREE psychological treatment for your PTSD in the BDNF trial.

Please contact the Trial Intake Officer on 1800 514 905 or register your interest below.

Register interest

What is the BDNF trial?

Prolonged exposure therapy is the current gold standard treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The BDNF trial is investigating whether treatment outcomes can be improved by combining aerobic exercise with prolonged exposure therapy. Exercise is known to increase levels of a protein in the brain called brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which may help to reduce the anxiety and fear often experienced by people with PTSD.


The BDNF trial will help to improve prolonged exposure therapy and provide information about the underlying mechanisms involved in psychological treatments.


Am I eligible for the BDNF trial?

We are looking for people who:

  • are 18 years of age or older
  • have experienced trauma in their lifetime, such as a car accident, assault, physical injury, natural disaster, or childhood trauma
  • have been experiencing traumatic stress symptoms such as unwanted memories, flashbacks, nightmares, or avoiding reminders of the event, and no longer enjoying activities they used to
  • are able to safely engage in aerobic exercise (that is, do not have a health condition such as heart, lung or muscle problems)
  • can attend treatment in Parkville, Victoria.


If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for the trial, please register your interest for further information, or call 1800 514 905.


What will the BDNF trial involve?

If you are eligible for the trial, you will receive 10 weekly sessions (90 minutes each) of prolonged exposure therapy delivered face-to-face by a specialist trauma clinician. Prior to each session you will do 20 minutes of aerobic exercise or gentle stretching.

There will be no cost for the treatment you receive in this trial.

To learn more about participating in the BDNF trial, you can read the Plain Language Statement for the trial here.


What are the benefits?

Prolonged exposure therapy is one of the most effective treatments available for PTSD. By taking part in the trial, we hope you will see an improvement in your PTSD symptoms, other mental health symptoms you may experiencing, and your quality of life. In addition, aerobic exercise and gentle stretching are known to have physical health benefits. You will also be contributing to the research and knowledge about how to improve the effectiveness of psychological treatments for PTSD.


Who is conducting the BDNF trial?

This trial is being conducted by Professor Kim Felmingham from the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences, the University of Melbourne, in collaboration with Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, a national centre of excellence in posttraumatic mental health.


If you would like to participate or find out more about the trial, please contact the Trial Intake Officer on 1800 514 905 or register your interest below.

Register interest