Stanford Instructor Discusses MRI in Chiropractic at Logan

August 9, 2019 -- Kenneth Weber II, DC, PhD, an instructor in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Stanford University, recently spoke as part of the Logan Department of Radiology’s Chiropractic Grand Rounds.

Dr. Weber, who earned his clinical training as a chiropractor at Palmer College of Chiropractic Florida and then completed a PhD in neuroscience at Northwestern University, currently researches different neuroscience, machine-learning and clinical research techniques to better understand, treat, and prevent musculoskeletal and neurological conditions, including spinal pain.

On August 2, he addressed the topic of advancing chiropractic with advanced magnetic resonance imaging to students, faculty and staff, opening with a general description of the structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology along with their advantages and disadvantages. He described how fMRI provides non-invasive mapping of the brain’s neuroanatomy and neurophysiology in the assessment of patients with chronic pain. Maladaptive neural circuity develops as an adaptive response to the persistent nociception. This adaptation to central sensitization utilizes cortical and subcortical neuroplasticity, and these patterns of brain neural activity are mapped with fMRI technology. Dr. Weber discussed his research in brain-based models of clinical pain states, and has incorporated an artificial intelligence method known as machine learning to enhance models of bran responses to pain. 

He also explained his extensive research of spinal manipulation in healthy and clinical pain disorders, including a new development in his research: spinal cord fMRI. This technique, which Dr. Kettner said has been long hampered by technical challenges, is advancing and may provide a biomarker of spinal cord injury and disorders. In addition, simultaneous fMRI of the spinal cord combined with functional imaging of the brain is now on the horizon.

Dr. Kettner said this corticospinal mapping will provide a perspective of large neural network integration, allowing more precise understanding of chronic pain and other associated disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and their treatment outcomes.  


Chiropractic Grand Rounds Recap: Roberta Sclocco, PhD

November 9, 2018 -- This past summer, Logan welcomed Roberta Sclocco, PhD, to campus for a Chiropractic Grand Rounds presentation. Dr. Sclocco is a research fellow at Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her presentation, titled “Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Optimized Using Functional MRI” focused on the application and integration of advanced imaging techniques and brainstem neural science. This work is an ongoing line of research with which Norman Kettner, DC, DACBR, FICC and Chair of Logan’s Department of Radiology is a collaborator.

In an introduction to Dr. Sclocco’s presentation, Dr. Kettner explained the importance the vagus nerve plays in many major biological systems.

“The inflammatory reflex is a physiological mechanism through which the vagus nerve regulates immune function, inhibits excessive proinflammatory cytokine production and may provide a variety of biological, psychological and behavioral health benefits addressing the elements of the biopsychosocial model,” he said. “Vagus nerve signaling plays an important role in the regulation of feeding behavior, gut regulation, immune network interaction, pain modulation and metabolic homeostasis. Cholinergic signaling (inflammatory reflex) is known to alleviate obesity-associated inflammation and metabolic derangement and could be exploited for treatment of metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes mellitus and other obesity-driven disorders. “

Of particular importance to the current opioid epidemic, vagus stimulation has been shown to alter the pain memory process and free chronic pain patients from conditioned pain responses.

Dr. Sclocco describes her research as a merging of the head and the heart and an exploration of whether something useful can come out of integrating the two modalities. This research has employed subcutaneous stimulation of the vagus nerve (auricular branch) with 7 T fMRI to better understand the treatment and its underlying neural mechanisms. Click here to watch the full presentation.

Chiropractic Grand Rounds - Roberta Sclocco PhD

Roberta Sclocco PhD, Research Fellow, Athinoula A Martinos Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School provided a lecture titled Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation Optimized using functional MRI. Learn about non-invasive vagal stimulation and its clinical applications.

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