Concussions: Advances in prevention, identification, and treatment
April 4 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm PDT$30.00
Every year, over half a million Canadians suffer one or more concussions. Concussion symptoms can impact all aspects of life including day-to-day activities like school, work, sport, and homelife. This event will focus on concussion in sports and traumatic brain injury, including biomechanics, neuroscience, prevention, therapy, and recovery. Audience members can expect to learn about the changes that take place in the brain when a concussion occurs, long term impacts of concussions, concussion prevention, as well as the rapidly evolving science of concussion recognition, treatment, recovery, and medical policy and practice. The following subject matter experts will discuss the lived experience of concussions and present current advances in concussion research.
- Lyndia Wu, PhD., P.Eng. Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UBC
Lyndia will introduce the mechanics and describe what happens inside the skull when a concussion occurs. She will talk about how sensor technologies are applied in sports to help build this understanding of concussion mechanisms, and how the findings could contribute to diagnostics and prevention.
- Naznin Virji-Babul, B.HSc, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, UBC
Naz will discuss the effects on the brain that are associated with repeated concussions. She will also highlight how the brain changes in response to brain injury as well as recovery and the long-term effects on brain function and how AI could be used help assist with the diagnosis of concussion.
- Shelina Babul, PhD, Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, UBC, Injury Prevention Unit, BC Children’s Hospital Director
Shelina will discuss what individuals can do to educate themselves on recognizing, responding and managing a potential concussion as well as review ground-level policy and practice changes. She will also introduce the Concussion Awareness Training Tool and discuss the importance of evidence-based knowledge amongst various audiences.
* The fourth panelist will be announced shortly.
About the panelists
Lyndia is a researcher studying concussion biomechanics, with a special focus on sports concussions. She completed her PhD at Stanford University in California, where she developed and validated mouthguard sensors to measure head impacts sustained in American football. Here in BC, she and her research trainees are continuing to develop and apply technologies that measure brain injuries, shifting focus to underrepresented sports populations including more diverse sports and women’s sports. She believes in collecting and using real-world injury data for translatable findings, and working closely with athletes, coaches and sports medicine physicians to inform implementable solutions. She is a Michael Smith Health Research BC Scholar and holds multiple grants from agencies including NSERC and CIHR to pursue brain injury research.
The fourth panelist will be announced shortly.
Dr. Virji-Babul is a physical therapist, neuroscientist and Associate Professor in the Dept. of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Her laboratory is based at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health. Her research program in cognitive neuroscience has two streams: (a) basic science studies focused on understanding brain structure and function underlying action perception/action execution networks, motor learning and the development of novel methods to analyze resting state effective connectivity and, (b) applied research studies of brain injury focused on identifying early indicators of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in adolescents and on developing effective methods to improve recovery from TBI in adults. Building on her ongoing efforts to understand brain organization, she and her team have been investigating the use of a novel connectivity measure based on information flow rates to map causal, directionally dependent interactions between different brain regions, i.e. effective connectivity. This is a powerful, more principled approach compared with other effective connectivity measures for mapping the direction of information flow in the brain. Her work with collaborators who have expertise in big data, machine learning and statistical analysis has led to new line of study that applies and tests a deep learning neural network to automatically classify concussed athletes from healthy athletes using raw, resting state EEG data.
Dr. Shelina Babul’s area of focus include: 1) Identifying and addressing critical gaps in injury prevention; 2) TBI/Concussion-specific research and related strategies to promote uptake of proven and effective interventions; and 3) Coordination of TBI/concussion efforts locally, provincially and nationally. She developed the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) with the aim to increase knowledge around the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions. There have been over 175,000 individuals who have completed the online training and numerous sporting associations, schools and universities (100+) have mandated CATT training in over 50 countries. She is the Director of BC Children’s Hospital Canadian Hospitals Injury Reporting and Prevention Program (CHIRPP), a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, UBC; an Investigator with the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC. She is the chair and/or committee and board member on numerous provincial and national injury and concussion advisory committees. Dr. Babul was recently awarded the 2023 Clinical Faculty Award for Excellence in Research by the Faculty of Medicine, UBC.