Neuroscience, Comm Sciences team up to address concussion effects

The efforts to better understand the impact of brain trauma on the human’s ability to function is a matter of importance, especially within the realm of neuroscience at Baldwin Wallace University.
Recovering from a concussion or any brain injury is not a joke—Dr. Patrick Ledwidge, assistant professor for the Psychology and Neuroscience Department at BW could not stress this enough.
Ledwidge has decided to create a cross-field research project with the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department to explore a better avenue of addressing the issue of concussions within the student body.
“Our ultimate goal is to aid in the studies necessary to improve the recovery times for students and student athletes,” said Ledwidge.
As the project grew, so did the need for funding tests, labs, and educational speakers. The funding for the research was found—a $5000 grant from The Women for BW organization. The Women for BW is a legacy organization founded off the ideals of an older organization from BW’s history, The Baldwin Wallace Women’s Club.
Of the 43 applicants from this year’s distribution of just under $20,000, the neuroscience project won the maximum of $5000 at which the organization’s grants are capped, said Rebecca Rogg, senior philanthropy advisor at BW.
The grant money is intended for use in travel expenses for two accredited speakers in the upcoming Spring and Fall semesters. One speaker is an established scientist in the field of concussion or trauma research, and the other a clinician just as experienced and prominent. Both will hold one public discussion for students and the public audience, as well as a secondary private seminar intended for students of either field to learn first-hand from a professional.
“Because we are still discovering new things in the field, there’s very little professional training available,” said Ledwidge, “we want to supplement students with training from others in the field.”
These students include Ledwidge’s own neuroscience students, as well as those of Professor Christa Jones, assistant professor of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. Jones coordinates the operations of BW’s speech clinic and its graduate student clinicians with not only the current campus concussion management plan, but with Ledwidge’s research project.
“In terms of research, at the speech clinic I will be conducting the assessment and treatment for students who sustain a concussion,” said Jones. “This data will then be further analyzed with Patrick Ledwidge’s work.”
From the ground up, this project is being focused around the students on campus. From patients being treated and tested to those designing the tests themselves, students play a big role in the outcome of this endeavor.
Madison Trenkamp, a senior majoring in neuroscience and psychology, and minoring in biology serves as a lab manager, ensuring the day to day operations in the lab run smoothly between scheduling and the activities taking place.
As part of her senior thesis, she assisted Ledwidge in the creation of a test-set designed to measure cognitive responses on a literary level, relating well with the communications aspect of the project. Enthused by her involvement, and the future of the project, Trenkamp said she was glad to see the fruit of her work put forth.