Dr. Michael La Fountaine, Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, and his research team will be recognized for scientific achievement at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology taking place virtually between April 17-22nd, 2021. His abstract entitled, "Single nucleotide polymorphisms for calcitonin gene-related polypeptide are related to the magnitude of headache symptoms after concussion: A preliminary observation" was selected for the "merit of distinction" by the Science Committee. Distinction is awarded to one abstract within each topical category based on the "quality of the study and interest to the neurologic community."
La Fountaine's team includes Anthony Testa, Director for the Center of Sports Medicine, and two recent graduates from the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program, Asante Hohn ('19) and Caroline Leahy ('20). In this study, the team identified that the presence of a "T" allele for a single nucleotide polymorphism within the receptor activity modifying protein-1 (RAMP1) family had a greater posttraumatic headache burden than those without it early after a concussion. The study was performed in college athletes who sustained a sports concussion within the previous 48 hours and their symptoms were tracked for a period of 1 week after the injury. According to La Fountaine, "The symptomatic experience after a concussion is largely unpredictable and highly variable from one person to the next. This preliminary observation suggests that a person's genetic makeup could play an important role in reconciling the severity of symptoms that one experiences in the early stages of the post-injury period." The research study remains on-going and follow-up investigations are in development. The research was supported by a grant through the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research (CBIR16IRG025).
Michael La Fountaine, Ed.D., ATC
Dr. La Fountaine is an autonomic nervous system physiologist who focuses on psychophysiological adaptations that manifest through the neuroendocrine and cardiovascular systems as a result of traumatic neurological injuries. Dr. La Fountaine explores this topic through active lines of research in human models of brain (e.g., concussion) and spinal cord injury. His research has focused on the elucidation of aberrant processes in hopes of identifying new techniques, or refinements to existing approaches that may be used to assist the diagnosis of a disorder or identify a target for potential intervention in the hope of developing strategies to ameliorate the associated symptoms. He also has an interest in the use of research investigation(s) as an education tool in developing skills that are relevant to clinical practice.