Tactile augmenting of body balance in neurological patients (Johannsen_U17SF)
This 3-year project aims to assess the prerequisites of utilizing light haptic feedback for the stabilization of body balance during dynamic postural activities in balance-impaired patients with neurological disorders.
Light touch feedback reliably augments control of body balance and stability gains of been demonstrated in several patient populations. It cannot be assumed, however, that it is equally effective in all patient populations due to the specific processing involved. Preliminary research indicates that its effect may be more pronounced in chronic stroke patients compared to Parkinson's patients.
The project's main objective is to establish a metric which allows better comparisons between patient populations regarding their sensorimotor processing of sway-related tactile feedback unbiased by their physical impairments. This research will indicate if a patient population is more likely to gain from light touch balance training. This knowledge will also improve the understanding of the processes involved in haptic augmentation of postural control.
The responsibilities and tasks in this project will involve patient recruitment, acquisition, extraction and analysis of balance stability indicators in several dynamic postural activities.
Candidates should have at least an upper second class Master degree in Human Movement Science, Sport Science, Psychology, Behavioural Neuroscience, Medicine, Physiotherapy, Occupational therapy or a related area. Very good English in speech and writing, very good communication skills, a tolerant attitude and the ability to work in an open minded, international project team are essential. As NHS patients will be involved the candidate will require CRB clearance.
Members of the Acquired Brain Injury Rehabilitation Alliance (ABIRA) will comprise the supervisory team and the candidate will be immersed into ABIRA. The research environment also includes: a state-of-the-art movement analysis laboratory and industrial collaborations for development of neuroscience-based rehabilitation technology.
This PhD project is offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with funding or those applying to funding sources. Details of tuition fees can be found at http://www.uea.ac.uk/study/postgraduate/research-degrees/fees-and-funding.
A bench fee may also payable on top of the tuition fee to cover specialist equipment or laboratory costs required for the research. The amount charged annually will vary considerably depending on the nature of the project and applicants should contact the primary supervisor for further information about the fee associated with the project.
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