EMPWR Series

I want to find out what the latest research tells us about how we can recover, maintain or enhance our neurological health. What does the latest research mean? How can we apply this information to our own lives? Talking with clinicians, researchers and those that have suffered from brain injury, I plan to share these answers.

Available on: Spotify | iTunes

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#9 - Gordon Stringer | Rowans Law

Gordon Stinger is the Father of Rowan Stringer who passed away in 2013 at the age of 17 after suffering a head injury in rugby.

Since her passing a law has been passed within Ontario to educate as many people as possible about concussion. The law also acts to limit the instance of preventable injuries after concussion whether secondary head injury or other bodily injuries.

Gordon (her father) and Kathleen (her mother) fought to find answers which lead to engaging with political parties that ultimately enacted this new law.

As a young girl Rowan had dreams of helping people for a living. Named after her, Rowans Law is now doing exactly that.

In this episode we discuss the social issues around concussion, how Rowans Law was created, what exactly this law entails, how you can get involved and finally a message from Gordon to parents of young athletes.

www.empwr.ca

 
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#8 - Dr. Nick Reed | Humans Not Checklists

Dr. Reed is an associate professor at the University of Toronto as well as a clinician scientist and occupational therapist within the Bloorview Research Institute at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. He is involved in the development and implementation of a sport concussion clinical service and research programs. He also acts as the co-manager for Holland Bloorview’s Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury.

In this episode we contrast adult concussion with youth concussion, predicted concussion times, recovery process and more.

We even discuss the WHEN should kids start contact sport? What should be considered?

The most powerful part of this episode is the importance Dr. Reed puts on the human and functionality side of his patients. He does not solely use a symptom focused check lists. Dr. Reed approaches symptom management from the reverse order; what does the patient want to be able to do and how can we make that happen in a safe way?

Nick Reed on Twitter

 
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#7 - Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher | Maybe It’s Not A Concussion

Dr. Kutcher is a superstar sports neurologist. He opened the Sports Neurology Clinic at The Core Institute in Brighton Michigan after founding a similar clinic at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Kutcher advises the NFL, NHL, college and high school teams in Michigan and nationally.

Dr. Kutcher explains that the word concussion is overused and over diagnosed which leads to a long list of issues both physical and social. Dr. Kutcher gives such great insight into why concussion itself is only a piece to the puzzle that should be called “Athlete Brain Health.”

Kutcher even talks about pro athletes he works with and how they have missed time because they fell into the “concussion protocol” that doesn’t treat the issues that exist. Dr. Kutcher said someone that doesn’t have a concussion but is told they have one may experience a placebo effect and start to feel concussion like symptoms.

Kutcher on Twitter

 

#6 - Dr. Mike Cinelli & Katelyn Mitchell | Unseen Deficits

Dr. Cinelli specializes in Behavioural and Cognitive Neural Science as well as Biomechanics. Katelyn is a registered physiotherapist as well as a PhD candidate studying with Dr. Cinelli.

Together their research is focused on determining the physiological recovery of deficits in the integration of visual, vestibular and somatosensory systems for individuals with sport-related concussion. The current objective measures used in clinical practice are not sensitive to detecting these deficits.

Therefore, athletes who are cleared for full return to play may continue to have persistent dysfunction that they are not aware of. This can increase their risk for subsequent injuries as well as decreased performance.

Publications Discussed: https://authors.elsevier.com/a/1Z3omyxzYbY2T 


 
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#5 - Dr. Quaid | Vision Training

Dr. Quaid trained as an Optometrist in the UK and was awarded his Doctorate in Vision Science at the University of Waterloo School of Optometry. Dr. Quaid’s PhD thesis and post-doctoral research aided in the development of an early detection device for glaucoma (Heidelberg Edge Perimeter), which is now in commercial use. In addition to his PhD and Post-Doctoral training, Dr. Quaid has also completed a Fellowship with the College of Optometrists & Vision Development.

In 2014, Dr. Quaid opened the Guelph Vision Therapy Centre, which is the first clinic in Canada of its kind to integrate Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Speech and Language Pathology and Vision Therapy in a collaborative care effort.

In this episode we talk about how the eyes and their intricate relationship with the entire body are becoming THE indicators, the cause and the solution to concussion issues.
We also touch on out the untapped area for athletic performance with simple visual training.

How Vision Affects Learning

MORE Links to more detailed lectures can be accessed by emailing Dr. Quaid @ info@vuetherapy.ca

 
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#4 - Dr. Catherine Wiseman-Hakes | Sleep

Catherine is a clinician scientist and educator with 20 years experience in brain injury and speech language pathology. Catherine completed her PhD in the faculty of medicine, graduate dept of rehabilitation science at the University of Toronto with a specialty in rehabilitation neuroscience. Her research examined the impact of sleep and wake disorders on recovery and outcomes for cognition and communication after brain injury.

First we talk about sleep as a science, the cycles and what happens during each cycle on a microscopic level. We then bring in sleep and brain injury and how that changes sleep. Of course we discuss sleep and mental health with specifics to how and why sleep and emotional well being are so tightly linked. We conclude with sleep hygiene or “sleep hacks” that everyone can use to improve their sleep.

- Poor sleep vs Chronic poor sleep
- K-Complex in Stage 2 Sleep
- The Amygdala and Sleep
- What you do as soon as you wake up can help you sleep at night.
- Waking up from REM sleep and not being able to move, explained.

 
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#3 - Daniel Gallucci | CTE

Daniel is the founder of Flux BioNetworks. He was previously an Exercise Physiologist, Osteopath, Acupuncturist, and Functional Neurologist.

In this episode Daniel links the science with the social in present day research around CTE, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

What is CTE? What is the difference between a concussive blow and a sub-concussive blow? Why should we be skeptical of the research today? What are the other sides of the coin not discussed in the media? What can we do to educate ourselves?

Daniel and I discuss CTE without fear-mongering or bias. We discuss it as openly as possible and it leads to an empowering conclusion.

Click here for the article that we discuss in the episode

 
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#2 - Dr. Shirley Blanc | Vision

“The eyes do not tell the brain what to see. The brain tells the eyes what to look for.”

Dr. Shirley Blanc completed her Bachelors of Science and Doctorate of Optometry at the University of Waterloo. In recent years, Dr. Blanc has dedicated a significant portion of her practice to assessing and treating patients with traumatic brain injury, due to the need for optometric intervention as a vital component of a post-concussive healthcare team. In this episode we start with how improving vision can decrease the risk of concussion. We talk about how the brain tells the eyes what to see. How vision affects posture, motor-reflexes, awareness in space, and AND how these issues can be rectified. Dr. Blanc believes in a team approach to concussion recovery, multidisciplinary if you will. The stories of recovery alone in this episode are beyond empowering. Some people have instant symptom relief from the removal or addition of a stimulus.

 

#1 - Dr. Michael Hutchison | Exercise

In the first episode of the EMPWR Series I talk with Exercise Scientist, Dr. Michael Hutchison from the University of Toronto. Dr. Hutchison aka “Hutch” is a big hockey fan and has done some incredible work in the hockey world. We discuss the phasing out of the “dark room” and the incredible recovery tool, exercise. We discuss how and when to utilize exercise in concussion recovery. We discuss the benefits of exercise on the brain from a hormonal and behavioural level. We even get into the specifics on what exactly is the right form of exercise for each individual as it is not one size fits all. Too many people in the concussion space set themselves up for failure with exercise instead of success. Dr. Hutchison believes the problem lies in type and level of exercise chosen. Lastly, the most powerful message in this episode is that exercise comes in many different forms. If you choose the right type for you, the chances of harm or “set-backs” are extremely low. I am so excited to kick this series off with exercise; something that I believe did and continues to empower my neurological well-being.