- Research Program Mentor
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
neuropsychology, psychology, neuroscience, neuroanatomy, personality psychology, health behavior change, public health, brain tumors, concussions,
Predicting Return to Play and Class for Concussed Collegiate Athletes
Each year approximately 1.6 to 3.8 million people suffer a sports-related traumatic brain injury (Langlois, Rutland-Brown, & Wald, 2006). Concussions, a common form of mild traumatic brain injury, account for 75% of total brain injuries in the United States (Faul, Xu, Wald, & Coronado, 2010). Overall, concussion symptoms typically remit within one to four weeks from injury (McCrea, 2007); however, conflict exists surrounding the duration of time that would be safe for a concussed student-athlete to return to functioning, both to sport and to class. The aim of this study is to critically examine post-concussive symptoms within a collegiate athlete sample and identify existing relationships between symptom clusters (cognitive, physical, emotional, and sleep) and recovery times. Identifying such relationships could be the first step in understanding symptom-based markers of concussion duration.
The Role of Neuropsychology in Determining Capacity for Informed Consent for Neurosurgery
For any clinical intervention, informed consent requires an explanation of the procedure: Nature, degree, duration, probability of risks and benefits, and alternatives. This process presents multi-dimensional legal and ethical challenges in patients with intellectual disabilities and low health literacy. Neuropsychologists evaluating cognitively impaired candidates for surgery (e.g., epilepsy, brain tumors) often face further considerations, as neurosurgical intervention (while considered standard-of-care), may not be considered “medically necessary” and offers no guarantee of cure. Future research can examine the ethical and legal responsibilities of neuropsychologists assessing patients undergoing elective pre-operative testing, as well as identify strategies for evaluating competency to consent to surgery.