Sensorineural plasticity and rehabilitation
This research area hosts two research teams. Dr Douglas Hartley leads the Multisensory Brain Laboratory, while Prof Deborah Hall leads a range of projects in collaboration with researchers at the University of Nottingham and Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research.
The ability of the brain to reorganise itself (e.g. after stroke damage) is generally considered a good thing. However, under certain conditions it may have negative consequences, especially for hearing ability. One way to explore this important issue is by using brain imaging to ‘see’ the brain in action.
By bringing together physicists with expertise in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the University of Nottingham, physiologists and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeons and audiologists, we are addressing important clinical questions about brain reorganisation after hearing loss, deafness and tinnitus. Together we are developing imaging methods for measuring auditory sensorineural plasticity using novel brain imaging techniques, and methods currently applied in other sensory domains. We are applying these techniques to address patient-centered questions about impairment and treatment. We are also integrating these findings with knowledge of animal models of network processing and cortical plasticity, and with work conducted at the Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research.