Developing a signature for traumatic brain injury

cropped-Virji-Babul-lab-shot-150-x150.jpgDr. Naznin Virji-Babul is on a mission to develop signatures of concussion that that might alert athletes to risks of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases later in life and allow for preventive intervention.  She was interviewed by the Ottawa Citizen, read the interview at

Dr. Virji-Babul is also investigating whether rest is best for healing after a concussion.The standard approach to treatment has emphasized a period of physical and cognitive rest following a concussion but the evidence for this approach is weak. Now, Dr. Naznin Virji-Babul is recruiting participants for a study that aims to better understand the effects of physical and mental exertion on the brains of recently concussed individuals.

“As there haven’t been any systematic investigations of the neurophysiological effects of physical activity following concussion, we will conduct a randomized controlled pilot study to compare the effects of rest versus graded exercise on brain function in the first week following concussion,” says Dr. Virji-Babul.

“This is a great opportunity for research to have immediate clinical applications.”

Participation in this study is open to adults aged 18 to 25 years who have recently sustained a sport-related head injury diagnosed as a concussion.

Kevin Valcke, a sport physiotherapy fellow with the Allan McGavin Sports Medicine Centre, will supervise participant activities in the study.

“Although there is a growing body of literature on the mechanism and physiological changes associated with concussion, the reality is that practical management of this injury hasn’t kept pace with research,” says Valcke.

For more information, or to participate in this study, please email