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Researchers from Elon BrainCARE publish two articles 

Faculty from Department of Exercise Science (Caroline Ketcham, Eric Hall, Walter Bixby, Paul Miller and Kenneth Barnes), Department of Physical Therapy Education (Stephen Folger and Srikant Vallabhajosula) and Department of Sports Medicine (Kirtida Patel) and ESS alum Kelsey Evans '14 recently published articles in Journal of Visualized Experiments and International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Below are the summaries of both the published articles

1. A Neuroscientific Approach to the Examination of Concussions in Student-Athletes. (from Journal of Visualized experiments)

Caroline J. Ketcham, Eric Hall, Walter R. Bixby, Srikant Vallabhajosula, Stephen E. Folger, Matthew C. Kostek, Paul C. Miller, Kenneth P. Barnes, Kirtida Patel


Concussions are occurring at alarming rates in the United States and have become a serious public health concern. The CDC estimates that 1.6 to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities annually. Concussion as defined by the 2013 Concussion Consensus Statement "may be caused either by a direct blow to the head, face, neck or elsewhere on the body with an 'impulsive' force transmitted to the head." Concussions leave the individual with both short- and long-term effects. The short-term effects of sport related concussions may include changes in playing ability, confusion, memory disturbance, the loss of consciousness, slowing of reaction time, loss of coordination, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, changes in sleep patterns and mood changes. These symptoms typically resolve in a matter of days. However, while some individuals recover from a single concussion rather quickly, many experience lingering effects that can last for weeks or months. The factors related to concussion susceptibility and the subsequent recovery times are not well known or understood at this time. Several factors have been suggested and they include the individual's concussion history, the severity of the initial injury, history of migraines, history of learning disabilities, history of psychiatric comorbidities, and possibly, genetic factors. Many studies have individually investigated certain factors both the short-term and long-term effects of concussions, recovery time course, susceptibility and recovery. What has not been clearly established is an effective multifaceted approach to concussion evaluation that would yield valuable information related to the etiology, functional changes, and recovery. The purpose of this manuscript is to show one such multifaceted approached which examines concussions using computerized neurocognitive testing, event related potentials, somatosensory perceptual responses, balance assessment, gait assessment and genetic testing.

2. Relationship between Information Processing and Postural Stability in Collegiate Division I NCAA Athletes: Does Concussion History Matter? (from International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation).

Kelsey M Evans, Caroline J Ketcham, Stephen Folger, Srikant Vallabhajosula and Eric E Hall


Background: Concussions have been associated with deficits in balance and postural stability. Subjects sustaining mild to moderate head injuries showed an increase in inhibition of the primary motor cortex which has been associated with sensorimotor organization and movement execution changes.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between postural stability and information processing in collegiate athletes with and without a history of concussion.

Methods: One-hundred and sixty-five Division I student-athletes completed balance and neurocognitive baseline testing. Thirty-four had a previous history of concussion. Postural sway and spatio-temporal characteristics of center of pressure were measured under four conditions: eyes open firm surface, eyes closed firm surface, eyes open foam surface, eyes closed foam surface. Information processing data came from two composite scores from a neurocognitive assessment tool and from a somatosensory stimulation test.

Results: Results showed that student-athletes with a history of concussions, although healthy at the time of testing, had differences in postural control compared to student-athletes without a history of concussion. While sway index scores were not significantly different, spatio-temporal measures showed larger displacements in CoP in previously concussed student-athletes. Reaction times and visual motor speeds were significantly correlated with sway index scores suggesting that processing time does influence balance control in all participants.

Conclusion: Sustained balance control differences in previously concussed student-athletes may have implications for compensation strategies and risk of additional injuries.


Srikant Vallabhajosula,
4/29/2015 3:05 PM