Cochleovestibular Physiology and Meniere’s Disease

Summary

This project investigates the effects of abnormal volumes of fluid in the inner ear, called endolymphatic hydrops, on cochlea and vestibular function.

Supervisor(s)

Dr Daniel Brown

Research Location

Camperdown - Brain and Mind Research Institute

Program Type

PHD

Synopsis

Meniere's disease is an inner ear disorder afflicting around 50,000 Australians. Symptoms include episodes of severe vertigo and nausea lasting several hours, progressive and fluctuating hearing loss, ringing in the ears, hearing distortion and the sensation of fullness in the ear. The cause of the disease is unknown, although it's believed to result from excessive fluid in one of the inner ear compartments, called endolymphatic hydrops. Many researchers believe this hydrops causes increased fluid pressure and a displacement of the extremely displacement-sensitive hair cells in the cochlea and vestibular system that sense sound, movement and gravity. However, there are several mechanisms that normally dissipate such fluid pressures so that our hair cells rest in the optimal position, and we currently lack evidence that this pressure exists in humans with hydrops.
There is a presently a need to better understand
A) the effects of hydrops on inner ear function,
B) the mechanisms that regulate inner ear fluid volume and pressure, C) the pathology that leads to hydrops, and
D) the efficacy of treatments for Meniere's.

Gaining this understanding will require either developing animal models of Meniere's Disease, or undertaking clinical studies of Meniere's sufferers.

Additional Information

In collaboration with The Meniere's Research Fund Association, The Medical Foundation is currently offering a PhD scholarship to commence in 2010/2011. The offer is to the value of $33,000 for 1 year with the opportunity to apply for funds for the second and third year. It is expected that applicants will seek funds to complete their research project in subsequent years, however applicants may be further supported if unsuccessful.
Applicants must:

  • have the equivalent of an Australian Bachelor degree with Honors
  • be either Australian or New Zealand citizens or Australian permanent residents
  • be accepted into a PhD in the area of Meniere's disease
  • preference will be given to the applicant who can provide evidence of significant research potential as demonstrated by, for example, research publications

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Keywords

Hearing, Balance, Auditory, Vestibular, Cochlear Physiology, Vestibular Physiology, Neuroscience, physiology, Ménière’s Disease

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 1111