Research Conducted

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Research – Diagnosis – TMS

Sports Health Check is funding preliminary (arm’s length) research into using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a diagnostic tool. Dr. Alan Pearce at Deakin University is conducting a study into brain activity between elite and sub-elite players compared to healthy age-matched controls. The objective of the study is to determine if TMS can differentiate between those who have suffered concussions compared to those who have never been concussed. Therefore gaining deeper insight into TMS’s validity as additional diagnostic tool.

Research – Neuroregenerative – CBCT & TDCS

Computer Based Cognitive Training (CBCT) is proving to be a useful rehabilitation tool, especially when used in conjunction with TDCS (Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation). Further research could seek to gain deeper insights into the physiological changes being created and the subsequent degree of protection – rehabilitation. Help produce better tools / application of these tools in the future.

Research – Neuroregenerative – CBT

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has well-established efficacy for treatment of primary depression; as such it is appropriate in the treatment of mood symptoms following MTBI. Further research could seek to gain deeper insights into CBT efficacy amplification when used as part of a holistic treatment regime (e.g. in conjunction with CBCT and/or TDCS)

Early Diagnosis & Damage Limitation

An avenue of research that SHC is exploring the possibility of funding is Australian research into an anti-LPA treatment that aims to decrease the impact of neurotrauma.

Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a bioactive lipid and a modulator of inflammation. In the adult, LPA levels are low in the healthy individual. However, in the central nervous system (CNS), LPA levels dramatically increase during inflammation and trauma, making LPA a significant factor contributing to an inflammatory response during neurotrauma. Data suggest that LPA is a key player in the outcome of neuraldamage and/or repair following neurotrauma: LPA can activate scar and inflammation forming cells and promote nerve cell and blood vessel death. Thus, decreasing levels of LPA may have a significant impact on human neurotrauma, allowing new avenues for potential therapeutic approaches.

Melbourne-based researchers Dr. Alice Pebay and Dr. Yona Goldshmitt have access to a monoclonal antibody that specifically recognizes and blocks the effects of LPA. They have shown that blocking LPA with these therapeutic antibodies improves the outcome of neurotrauma, using brain and spinal cord models of trauma. They now aim at pushing this work further to assess the therapeutic window and to assess the combined effect of anti-LPA treatment together with exercise therapy.

Frequency & Severity – Outcomes

Dr. Richard Parkinson’s study (external to Sports Health Check) could broaden current scope and be the catalyst for planning a cross-code follow-up study.