Kinesiology Professor Partners with High Point University in 2 Studies

Posted on September 01, 2023

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Researchers at UNC Greensboro and High Point University are collaborating on two studies to improve treatments for concussion and burning mouth syndrome – a complex neuropathic condition that is often seen in cancer patients – also known as glossodynia.

Dr. Derek Monroe, assistant professor in UNCG’s Department of Kinesiology, has fitted about a dozen local mixed martial arts athletes with mouth guards that use sensors to measure the frequency and magnitude of impacts they sustain. The mouth guards are being fit for each athlete using a specialized dental scanner at HPU’s Workman School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Monroe plans to work with the athletes to analyze their mouthguard data alongside images of their brain, collected using advanced MRI at UNCG, for patterns that might put them at risk for a concussion.

“The sensors are accelerometers that measure the direction and velocity of head movements. We think the accumulation of those head movements is what changes the wayathletes think and feel. Ultimately, these impacts lead to concussion in some athletes,” said Dr. Monroe. “We don’t understand the neurobiology of all these problems, and that’s where the imaging-informed analyses of mouthguard data comes in. What this research is ultimately all about is application and translation to practice to make the sport safer.”

“Our approach is to engage in translational research and patient care research an to collaborate with key players that will allow us to answer the question of how we can improve the overall health of patients using our infrastructure,” said Dr. Ali Shazib, associate professor, and dean of practice at HPU’s Workman School of Dental Medicine.