Krishnan Muthaiah, PT, PhD
Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, School of Public Health and Health Professions (SPHHP),
University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY
BLAST OVER-PRESSURE WAVE FORM
Blast induced traumatic brain injury, also known as shell shock or blast concussion, results in a variety of symptoms which often overlap with post-traumatic stress disorder. Brain Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory (BPNL) at UB focuses on investigating the mechanism of vestibular and auditory neurodegeneration following blast over-pressure (BOP) of various impact levels and repetitions in pre-clinical animal models.
The Brain Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation (BPNL) lab is directed by Dr. Vijaya Prakash Krishnan Muthaiah, an Assistant Professor at Department of Rehabilitation Sciences at School of Public Health and Health Professions, UB.
At BPNL, our research focuses on how neurotrauma and occupational hazards affects inner ear and respective higher centers of brain. Inner ear houses two important structures for our senses i.e cochlear and vestibular organ which are natural microphone and gyroscope of our human body. Information from both sides of inner ear is integrated and computed in respective higher centers of our brain. Any form and level of insult to these inner ear organs results in problems such as hearing loss, balance disorders, dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus, hyperacusis and poor speech intelligibility.
At BPNL, we investigate how acoustic over-pressure, ischemia or toxic element affects the structural and functional integrity of peripheral end organ and associated brain centers. Especially, BPNL focuses on blast induced traumatic brain injury and stroke induced auditory and vestibular neurodegeneration.
Our research seeks to explore the mechanism of neural plasticity at cortical and peripheral level following occupational hazards and neurotrauma to inner ear and respective higher centers of brain. Outcome of our research activities will be translated for development of integrated rehabilitation apporach for patients suffering from impairment of sensory information processing and sensori-motor integration.
1. Blast over-pressure (BOP) induced auditory and vestibular neurodegeneration.
a) We are investigating the patho-mechanism underlying both the peripheral and central aspects of blast-induced auditory neurodegeneration using a translatable experimental animal model in a dedicated biomedical research facility equipped with unrestricted access to core facilities. Insights from pathomechanism helps us for identification and characterization of potential therapeutic targets for pharmacologic intervention for manifestations of blast induced traumatic brain injury such as hearing loss, cochlear synaptopathy, tinnitus and associated deficits.
b) In humans, we are studying how blast concussion (acoustic over-pressure) affects the vestibular apparatus that is responsible for sending information about spatial orientation of our body and how blast concussion affects its associated higher centers of brain. In mild injury, though acute symptoms of blast concussion are subtle, evidences from veterans indicate that blast exposure accelerates late-onset neurodegeneration such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This manifests in global disability, neurobehavioral changes, Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cognitive impairment. The impact concussion or traumatic brain injury also manifest the same neurological changes with different course as reported by NFL players. By colloborating with Prof. Robert F Burkards' Vestibular Research Laboratory (VRL), at BPNL, we measure the healthiness of vestibular system and its components.
2. Ischemia induced auditory and vestibular neurodegeneration.
We are evaluating the incidence of post-stroke sudden sensori-neural hearing loss (SSNHL) and to investigate its molecular mechanism which might provide insights on therapeutic approach for SSNHL in addition to ongoing search for therapeutic target for noise, age and drug induced hearing loss.