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12 June 2023

Dr Francesca Puledda Awarded $200,000 for Visual Snow Research

This award came from the Visual Snow Initiative to fund an investigation into the mechanism behind this neurological disorder

Dr Francesca Puledda Awarded

Dr Francesca Puledda, a neurologist and a postdoctoral researcher at the Wolfson Centre, receives $200,000 from the Visual Snow Initiative to study Visual Snow Syndrome. Dr Puledda is the 2021 recipient of the King's Prize Fellowship and Anthony Mellows medal.

Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) is an under-recognised neurological disorder characterised by a constant perception of small flickering dots throughout the field of vision. People with VSS can also experience a combination of visual symptoms such as afterimages, sensitivity to light and difficulty seeing at night. It affects approximately 3% of the population. 

The exact cause of Visual Snow Syndrome is still unknown as it was defined clinically less than 10 years ago. Research has indicated that VSS may be caused by hyperactivity in the visual-processing region of the brain. Patients experiencing VSS may also experience migraine or tinnitus.

Dr Puledda's project will use state-of-the-art neuroimaging and neurophysiology technology to determine the biomarkers of neuronal connectivity and metabolism that characterise VSS. This will provide insight into the specific pathology underlying VSS and assist treatment development. Furthermore, Dr Puledda will look at the neurophysiological changes in the brain affected by VSS and how they differ from the brain affected by migraine. This will help distinguish the two conditions and improve treatment selections.

I am extremely grateful for the funding and support offered from Visual Snow Initiative. This will allow me to further investigate the biological mechanisms of visual snow by using cutting-edge technology. Through the years, the Initiative has been significant in contributing to the understanding of this devastating condition, for which very little is known and no treatment currently exists.’

Dr Francesca Puledda, postdoctoral researcher at the Wolfson Centre

The Visual Snow Initiative has a global team of researchers, physicians and neuroscientists collaborating and has set up a global fund for ongoing research. The initiative aims to generate generating awareness, education, and funding for VSS research.

For more information, please contact Annora Thoeng (School of Neuroscience Senior Communications and Engagement Officer)