A string of luck for the PIRL researchers

The Pain and Quality of Life Integrative Research Lab is excited and proud to congratulate the following lab members in their recent successes:

Josh Lee (PhD candidate) was recently awarded an Earl Russell Trainee Grant ($10k for one year) for his project exploring gut microbiotic changes over the first 6 months in people following acute musculoskeletal trauma and pain.

Ryan Power (Research Assistant) has recently been offered a research administration and coordination position with the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Network (PI Joy MacDermid) that will see him move to full time on campus.  We're pleased that he'll be able to continue working with the PIRL as well.

Dave Walton (Director) was the successful applicant from the Faculty of Health Sciences for the Western Teaching Fellows program.  This title comes with $10k/year for 3 years and additional money for protected time for conduct of research on education.  Dave will be exploring and evaluating the development and delivery of a competency (mastery)-based interprofessional non-thesis Master's program in Interprofessional Pain Management at Western.

Dave was also awarded a grant from the Bone and Joint Institute at Western ($15k for 1 year) along with co-investigator Jim Dickey (biomechanics) to further development of a VR-based immersive road traffic collision simulator to allow highly sensitive exploration of startle and other reactions to 'virtual' trauma without actually damaging any tissues.  Dave was also co-investigator on another pilot grant (Aaron Price PI, Ana Luisa Trejos co-I) to allow development of smart wearable fabrics for evaluating neck impairments and behaviours.

Stacey Guy (PhD candidate) also recently successfully defended her comprehensive/candidacy examination for which she argued in support of inclusion of individual clinician heuristics and team dynamics into implementation science frameworks for translating new clinical practice guidelines in pain and other conditions into actual change in clinical behaviour.

Congrats to all members of the lab for their accomplishments and ongoing successes!

Congrats to Dr. Swati Mehta!

PIRL PhD student Swati Mehta (co-supervised by Drs. Dave Walton and Eldon Loh) successfully defended her thesis entitled "Predicting Response to Medial Branch Blocks: A Clinical Decision Making Tool".  Swati presented 3 studies in her thesis: 1.  An exploration of the contribution of patient demographics and clinical signs to neck-related disability, 2. An exploration of the ability of cognitive and psychosocial factors to explain chronic neck disability, 3. A clinical decision tool to predict response to medial branch blocks for neck pain.  Dr. Mehta made her supervisors and lab-mates proud with an outstanding defense and we're excited to see the results of her next academic steps.  Starting later this year she will be off to University of Saskatchewan to begin her post-doctoral work exploring the effectiveness of cognitive behavioural therapy for pain delivered through an online platform.

Congratulations Dr. Mehta!

Successful Research Day for PIRL MPT Students

Three groups of Master's of Physical Therapy students that were supervised by Dr. Dave Walton during their final year project presented the results of their research during the School's research poster day in July.  The projects included a pilot evaluation of some key metrics to be used in a whiplash simulation project currently being developed, a survey of health valuations across different symptom frequencies and intensities, and the first stage of the 'Good Physio' project in which the group captured the views of academics when asked the question 'what makes a good physio?'


Mark Hewitt, Claire Donaldson, Jordan Bytelaar and Nathan Berardi presented their exploration of the measurement properties of pressure pain threshold and conditioned pain modulation including physiological measures of distress as part of the 'Whippy' whiplash simulation project currently under development.

Mark Hewitt, Claire Donaldson, Jordan Bytelaar and Nathan Berardi presented their exploration of the measurement properties of pressure pain threshold and conditioned pain modulation including physiological measures of distress as part of the 'Whippy' whiplash simulation project currently under development.


David Nguyen, Praneeth Ellanti, Nader Elhayek, Piramilan Thuraisingam and Cody Dudgeon present their work on the new Multidimensional Symptom Index, a symptom x frequency x intensity-based self-report measure that quantifies up to 120 different health states.  This work is continuing and the MSI should be ready for publication by the end of 2016.

David Nguyen, Praneeth Ellanti, Nader Elhayek, Piramilan Thuraisingam and Cody Dudgeon present their work on the new Multidimensional Symptom Index, a symptom x frequency x intensity-based self-report measure that quantifies up to 120 different health states.  This work is continuing and the MSI should be ready for publication by the end of 2016.


Maciej Prajs, Megan Houlahan, Dan Lew, Amanda McFadden, and josh chung presented their work on the 'Good Physio' project, finding (not surprisingly) that there's a whole lot more to being a good physio than hands-on instrumental skills, but at the same time the bulk of PT training is overwhelmingly focused on those hard skills.  This project is ongoing.

Maciej Prajs, Megan Houlahan, Dan Lew, Amanda McFadden, and josh chung presented their work on the 'Good Physio' project, finding (not surprisingly) that there's a whole lot more to being a good physio than hands-on instrumental skills, but at the same time the bulk of PT training is overwhelmingly focused on those hard skills.  This project is ongoing.

 

 

Recent News from the PIRL

Dr. Theo Versteegh has recently made news for his new TopSpin360 device, a new neck training invention that he believes may have application in neck and concussion rehab.  He has recently been profiled in the London Free Press and on CBC Radio One's Ontario Morning with Wei Chen.  Continuing this string, Dr. Versteegh also recently won the London TechAlliance's 'Techcellence Award for Innovation' for his invention.  Congrats Theo and here's to continued success!

PhD Candidate Swati Mehta has recently been announced one of the co-winners of the Lawson Health Research Institute's Leadership Award 2016.  Established in 2002, the Leadership Award recognizes motivation, integrity, critical reasoning and scholarly aptitude in trainees.  Swati will be presented the award at the Lawson Impact Awards Dinner and Gala in April.  Congratulations Swati!

PIRL Director Dr. David Walton was one of nearly 40 co-applicants on a successful Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) grant in Chronic Pain offered through CIHR, totaling $12.5 million to be shared across a network of researchers from the east coast to the west.  Dave also recently received word of a successful grant that will provide some funding for select graduate students and research support personnel through 2021.

And speaking of support personnel, the PIRL is pleased to announce the hiring of its first Research Assistant.  Mr. Paul Phares will serves as the RA focused on the SYMBIOME longitudinal databanking project for at least 6 months (we're hoping to keep him longer, wink wink).

Onward and upward!

Congratulations to Dr. Theodore Versteegh

It is with great pleasure and considerable pride that the Pain and Quality of Life Integrative Research Lab announces the successful thesis defense and degree completion of our first PhD student Dr. Theodore (Theo) Versteegh.  Dr. Versteegh did himself, his lab, and his supervisory committee proud as he presented and defended his thesis entitled "Development and Initial Validation of a Novel Neck Strength Assessment and Neuromuscular Training Protocol".  His projects included the development and testing of a portable handheld method of assessing neck strength including reliability and validity, and a pilot study of the effects of training football players on a new neuromuscular training apparatus on strength, coordination, and concussion risk.  Despite it being still early days, it seems Dr. Versteegh has a promising area of research to develop as he matures into an independent researcher.

Congratulations Dr. Versteegh!

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Another Brilliant Research Poster Day for PIRL students

A bit late off the mark on this post, but need to recognize the phenomenal job that students from Western's Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT) and Master's of Clinical Science (MClSc) programs did during their poster presentation day July 17th, 2015.  This is a great opportunity to showcase the work that's going on in the PIRL and more broadly in the School of PT at Western.

 

Dr. Dave Walton, James Schuster, Kendra Usunier, Annie Cornelio-Jin Suen, Mark Hynes and Prof. Jackie Sadi: Clinical Diagnosis of Cervical Facet Joint Pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of common clinical tests


Alex Fick, Nakyung Kim, Reza Hosseinian and Justin Cheng: Evaluating Properties of a New Clinical Tool for Measurement of Cold Sensitivity


Dianna Moulden, Dan Krebs, Peter Wade and Dr. Dave Walton: Evaluating the Properties of the Traumatic Injuries Distress Scale (TIDS) in a Clinical Sample


Youn Tae Chung, Ellie Hong, Katie Galotta and Alex Chow:  Relationships Between Physiological and Psychological Startle Response to a Sub-Threshold Unexpected Whiplash Moment

Interdisciplinary International MSK Traumatic Pain and Disability Workshop concludes successfull

An innovative 2-day invite-only workshop was recently held at Western University, hosted by Dave Walton with support from a strong organizing committee, March 25th and 26th 2015.  The workshop brought together 30 participants representing leaders in the field of post-traumatic MSK pain, leaders in other fields that already exist here at Western, and key representatives from consumer stakeholders.  The event was modeled as a hybrid of short TED-type talks interspersed with periods of active participation and idea generation.  The goal of this event was to identify new directions for research into questions such as 'why do some people develop chronic pain and disability after an acute injury while others recover well?' and 'what is the relationship between pain and disability, and where to biology, psychology and the environment overlap?'.  The event was organized by a committee led by Dr. Walton and included Drs. Joy MacDermid, Jeff Dixon, David Holdsworth, and Trevor Birmingham with special assistance from Shannon Woodhouse of the Joint Motion Program at Western.  Professional facilitator Bill Aal from www.unconference.net kept the event on track and ensured a successful outcome.

The event was sponsored by The Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Faculty of Health Sciences at Western, the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, the two Clusters of Research Excellence at Western: Cognitive Neuroscience and MSK Health, the London Orthopedic Unit of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association, the Orthopedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, and Gordon Good Law Office.  Participants from Western included those in fields as diverse as Physical Therapy, Physiatry, Psychiatry, Endocrinology, Microbiology, Dental Science, Epidemiology, Imaging Physics, and Biomechanics among others.  Experts from other institutions were present, representing McMaster University, McGill University, University of Maryland, the University of British Columbia, Northwestern University, the University of Western Sydney and the University of North Carolina.  Consumer groups included the Canadian Physical Therapy Association, the Ontario Chiropractic Association, the Canadian Pain Coalition, the Canadian Medical Association, and the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association.

Participants left the 2-day event with a sense of excitement over what true interdisciplinary, inter-institutional and international collaboration could accomplish and how we may someday identify the true nature of pain, disability and recovery after traumas such as whiplash, low back injuries, sports injuries or post-surgical pain.  A paper will be published that outlines the results of the event and serves as a white paper for those looking for rigorously-developed research priorities in the field.

Another Successful MPT/MClSc Poster Day

Three student groups, two from the entry-level Master's of Physical Therapy (MPT) and one from the post-graduate Master's of Clinical Science (MClSc), Manipulative Therapy fields, presented their posters during the annual PT school Poster Day at Elborn College on Friday June 18th.  As expected, all did very well and made their supervisor(s) and the lab proud.  Well done to the following students:

Quantitative Physiological Responses to an External Perturbation Mimicking a Small Whiplash Moment under Emotionally Neutral Conditions

Make Armet

Briana May

Dan Pietens

Melanie Schmedt

aka: The Whippy Kids

A Pilot Evaluation of a Novel Clinical Tet for Cold Hyper-reactivity in Healthy and Neuropathic Pain States

Kristina DiFabio

Jacklin Hanna

Jenna Mielzynski

Joanne Namedynski

Jessica Metcalf

aka: J-Krew

Diagnosing Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Common Clinical Tests

Judy Sturgeon

Tricia Jacques

Stephanie Steen

Sarah Fedun


Congrats to all of our student groups on a job well done!

The Whippy Kids: (left to right) Briana May, Melanie Schmedt, Dave Walton (clearly intrigued by something to his left), Dan Pietens, Mike Armet

The Whippy Kids: (left to right) Briana May, Melanie Schmedt, Dave Walton (clearly intrigued by something to his left), Dan Pietens, Mike Armet

J-Krew: (left to right) Dave Walton, Kristina DiFabio, Jacklin Hanna, Jenna Mielzynski, Joanne Namedynski, Jessica Metcalf

J-Krew: (left to right) Dave Walton, Kristina DiFabio, Jacklin Hanna, Jenna Mielzynski, Joanne Namedynski, Jessica Metcalf

Team ACL: (left to right) Tricia Jacques, Sarah Fedun, Stephanie Steen, Judy Sturgeon, Jackie Sadi, Dave 'the giant' Walton

Team ACL: (left to right) Tricia Jacques, Sarah Fedun, Stephanie Steen, Judy Sturgeon, Jackie Sadi, Dave 'the giant' Walton




Upcoming Workshop Opportunity (in-person or online)

Dave Walton will be offering a first-of-its-kind opportunity for clinicians interested in improving their skills and knowledge in the area of comprehensive pain assessment.  This intensive 1-day workshop will take participants through a deeper exploration of pain intensity scales, quantitative sensory testing, evaluations of cognitions and perceptions, and pain-related disability.  A full description of the workshop can be accessed from the course registration page.  A 1-page flyer for posting can be downloaded here.

Welcoming New Members

We are excited to welcome four new students into the PIRL family. Below you will find a quick introduction about each one of them.

Joshua Lee

  • a Ph.D student from Calgary
  • background in Basic Science will help him pursue new research directions in the biology of chronic pain

Caroline Wang 

  • a work study student currently in her fourth year of completing a Bsc degree at Western
  • interested in pursueing further schooling in an area of the health sciences including physiotherapy

Tyler Beattie

  • a high school co-op student working three hours a day with Dave untill the end of January
  • an avid hockey and volleyball player (look for him in the NHL in about 5 years)

Nordeep Panesar

  • a fourth year student in health science
  • conducting an independent study under Dave's supervision in which she will review common theories behind health behaviour changes and how they have been applied to type II diabetes management 

 

Congrats to MPT and MClSc students on a successful research day

On Friday July 19th, 2013, 4 groups of students in the Master's of Physical Therapy or Master's of Clinical Science programs at Western presented the culminations of their year-long PIRL-related research projects during the annual Poster Day at Western.  Congratulations go to the following students (with titles of their projects):

MClSc:

Matthew Pulickal, Amber Rollack, Jennifer Veitch: Psychometric testing of a Health-related satisfaction tool: The Satisfaction, Interference and Recovery Index (SIRI)


 Uday Emani, Katrina Sovio, Nathalie Desmarais: Evaluating the psychometric properties of the Trauma Anxiety and Distress Scale (TADS) for acute musculoskeletal trauma



MPT:

Jessi Doucette, Leah Higginbottom, Melissa Seifreid, Kristen Wanless: Evaluating a new tool for testing cold reactivity in a healthy sample


Danielle Beaudet, Marla Greenbaum, Leah Hellyer, Amanda Tritton: Evaluating the reliability of a neck strength asssessment protocol using self-generated resistance with a handheld dynamometer

All of the groups did a great job on their presentations.  Congratulations to all on a job well done!