Candidate. The candidate is an Assistant Professor in Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, at Chapman University. Her research to date has demonstrated altered postural coordination in individuals with low back pain (LBP) and examined neural correlates of anticipatory postural adjustments in the trunk. Her long- term goal is to develop rehabilitation interventions to reduce the development of chronic LBP. This project will help her to understand the influence of neuromechanical and psychological factors on LBP, and will prepare her to design and conduct large longitudinal and clinical trials. Mentorship team and training plan. Primary mentor, Dr. Laura M. Glynn, has extensive experience of conducting prospective studies investigating biopsychosocial influences on brain and behavior. She provides expertise in longitudinal study design and multifactorial analysis, as well as guidance on career development. Dr. Steven C. Cramer is an expert on central nervous system recovery who will advise on magnetic resonance imaging of the sensorimotor system. Dr. Linda Van Dillen has substantial experience in clinical research of individuals with LBP. A mentored practicum at her lab will provide direct experience of management of R01-funded clinical trials. Dr. Jesse V. Jacobs has expertise in neural mechanisms underlying postural coordination. Dr. Rongwen Tain will advise on technical aspects of magnetic resonance imaging and Dr. Babak Shahbaba will provide statistical support. The candidate will also complete didactic training in neuroimaging, multivariate data analysis, and clinical research. Environment. The candidate has substantial opportunities for collaboration and academic development at Chapman, and use of a fully equipped motion capture laboratory. She has access to additional intellectual development opportunities and MRI scanning facilities at University of California, Irvine. Research. The highest incidence of new episodes of LBP occurs during young adulthood. The objective of this study is to identify neuromechanical risk factors for recurrence/progression of LBP in young adults.
Aim 1 will use electromyography to determine if changes in trunk/pelvis postural coordination following fatiguing paraspinal exercise are greater in asymptomatic young adults with a history of LBP than those with no history of LBP.
Aim 2 will establish if there are alterations in central sensorimotor morphology, connectivity, or activity in young adults with a history of LBP, whether the connectivity and activation differences between groups are more evident following fatiguing exercise, and whether this brain reorganization is associated with altered postural coordination.
Aim 3 will identify if neuromechanical factors are independently associated with recurrence/progression of LBP symptoms over 18 months.
Low back pain now causes more disability worldwide than any other condition, with a majority of individuals experiencing a first episode in young adulthood, and many going on to suffer from chronic symptoms across the lifespan. The purpose of this study is to determine if aspects of postural coordination behavior and brain organization are associated with recurrence and progression of back pain symptoms in young adults. The research training and data generated by this project will lead to future work establishing if these and other factors predict which individuals will develop chronic symptoms, and ultimately to rehabilitation interventions targeted at those young adults most at risk of developing chronic low back pain.