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Optimisation of the transcranial direct current stimulation for tinnitus

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  • Full or part time
    Dr D Hoare
    Dr Magdalena Sereda
    Dr L Gascoyne
    Dr G Shekhawat
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Tinnitus is the perception or sensation of sound in the absence of an external physical stimulus, thought to affect around 10% of adults in the UK. The impact of tinnitus in an individual can range from minimal to extremely invasive and can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Currently the exact aetiology of tinnitus is unknown; however maladaptive plasticity due to sensorineural hearing loss is thought to play a big role. Neuroimaging studies have pointed to overactivation or excessive spontaneous activity within the central auditory cortex. Furthermore, electrophysiological techniques have confirmed the frontal cortex’s role tinnitus through dysfunctional top-down modulation.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a neurostimulation technique in which small currents (1-2mA’s) are delivered to the brain, thereby depolarising or hyperpolarising neurons within the desired region of cortex. tDCS is a non-invasive and easy to apply tool, delivered by applying two surface electrode to a patients head. It has previously been used as a treatment for depression, stroke rehabilitation and cognitive enhancement. Some studies have even pointed out the potential benefit of tDCS in tinnitus patients, but this has not yet been investigated within the UK.

The goal of the project is to optimise tDCS stimulation parameters for the treatment of tinnitus and explore feasibility and efficacy of tDCS in people with tinnitus. Both subjective (i.e. self-reported tinnitus handicap, depression and anxiety) and objective (changes in the oscillatory brain activity before, after and potentially during the intervention) measures will be collected. This will be the first study in the UK investigating the effects of tDCS on tinnitus.

The successful applicant will join a large and vibrant tinnitus research group and benefit from strong supervisory and peer support.

Funding Notes

The stipend for this PhD is £15,000 per annum.
You should have or expect to obtain a first class or upper 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent), or an MSc/MA, in neuroscience, psychology, audiology or other relevant scientific discipline. Research experience in electrophysiology or neuroimaging will be an advantage. You will have excellent communication and team-working skills, be self-driven and highly motivated. You should also be eligible to apply for relevant research clearances that will be required including a check with the Disclosure and Barring Service.

References

Applications should include a CV and covering letter including the names, addresses, telephone numbers and email addressed of two referees including at least one academic referee. Application should be sent to [email protected]

Informal enquiries may be addressed to Dr Magdalena Sereda, tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2625 or email: [email protected]



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