JOB ADVERTS

Northumbria Sleep Research (Northumbria University): Funded PhD Opportunity

Project title: Understanding the nature of sleep disturbances in caregivers for people with dementia with Lewy bodies

Deadline for applications: 18 February 2022

Start date: 1 October 2022

 

This studentship will offer a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2021/22 full-time study this is £15,609 per year) and full tuition fees. UK and international (including EU) candidates may apply.

This project will be supervised by Dr. Greg Elder (Associate Director of Northumbria Sleep Research / Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology), Dr. Daniel Rippon and Professor Jason Ellis (Director of Northumbria Sleep Research)

 

If you would like to discuss the opportunity, please contact the principal supervisor by email (Dr. Greg Elder: [email protected]).

 

Background

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common type of dementia. DLB is a complex and heterogenous disorder, which is characterised by a range of symptoms, including neuropsychiatric symptoms, visuoperceptual difficulties and visual hallucinations.The challenging, complex and symptom profile of people with DLB can have a significant impact upon their caregivers. DLB places a significant level of burden upon caregivers.

Caregiver distress is extremely likely to result in DLB caregivers developing sleep disturbances and disorders. A wide range of studies have indicated that stress is associated with subjective and objective sleep disturbances, and that stressful events can predict future sleep disturbances. Indeed, work from dementia caregivers, considered as a whole, demonstrates this. Additionally, even professional dementia caregivers demonstrate increased levels of stress hormones.

To date, no studies have specifically assessed sleep in DLB caregivers, or the relationship with stress and patient neuropsychiatric symptoms. This is extremely important as given the complex and challenging symptom profile of DLB, DLB caregivers are likely to be at a high risk of developing sleep disturbances and disorders. This is likely to have a direct negative impact upon their health.

 

The Project

The goals of this PhD project are to:

  1. quantify and compare the nature of subjective and objective sleep disturbances in DLB and AD caregivers
  2. to examine the association between patient neuropsychiatric symptoms and DLB caregivers
  3. design a bespoke DLB-specific caregiver intervention to improve sleep

 

What skills and knowledge does the PhD candidate need?

We are looking for an applicant who is passionate about clinically-applied sleep research. Given the novel nature of the project, you should demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and independence. You should possess a solid understanding of quantitative research methods and be willing to be trained in a variety of advanced sleep research methodologies (e.g. actigraphy, polysomnography).

Applicants will normally have a track record of academic achievement in psychology or a related discipline, demonstrated by a first class or upper second undergraduate honours degree and/or a master’s degree (or equivalent)

 

More details about the project, supervisors and Northumbria Sleep Research are available here:

https://www.findaphd.com/phds/project/understanding-the-nature-of-sleep-disturbances-in-caregivers-for-people-with-dementia-with-lewy-bodies-ref-rdf22-hls-psy-elder/?p138042

 

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