By Greg Peters, communications coordinator
School of Health Professions
April 9, 2014
Research exploring changes in brain function for patients with lower back pain has earned Zaid Mansour the top medal in the School of Health Professions at the 2014 Student Research Forum.
The medal was presented during a banquet on April 3 at The Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., as part of the three-day Student Research Forum at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The award was one of several presented by the schools of Health Professions, Medicine and Nursing at the University of Kansas Medical Center.
"Winning this award is a great honor," says Mansour, who is a graduate research assistant in the Clinical Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Research Laboratory. "I am very proud about it. It is definitely a prestigious award."
In his research, Mansour used functional magnetic resonance imaging to observe the effects on the brain resulting from mechanical stimuli being applied to the lower back. Thirteen healthy subjects and 13 people suffering from sub-acute lower back pain were included in the month study. The results showed a significant difference in brain activations between healthy subjects and those with lower back pain.
Mansour says preliminary results show that people with lower back pain have altered sensory processing and respond differently to mechanical stimuli compared to healthy subjects.
"I think this was a great accomplishment for Zaid because the concept he presented is related to his dissertation work," says CORR Laboratory director Neena Sharma, who was Mansour's mentor for the project. "We know Zaid can conduct and analyze functional imaging, but by winning the SHP award he has proven that he is a good presenter and can articulate the research study to a diverse group of people who may or may not have any experience in brain imaging."
In addition to winning the overall school award, Mansour received the Outstanding Research Award from the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science (PTRS) and placed second in the Clinical Neurology category of the Student Research Forum.
"I was overwhelmed because just before the medal was announced, I was announced as a second place winner for the session of clinical neurology and winner of the PTRS department award. I did not expect so many awards in one night."
Mansour came to the United States in August 2012 on a scholarship from The Hashemite University in his home country of Jordan. He is on track to receive his doctorate in rehabilitation science in fall 2015.
"When I was practicing therapy back in Jordan, I saw many patients with back pain - some were severely disabled because of it - yet with the proper assistance and therapy they can have a better quality of life," says Mansour, who received his Master of Science degree in musculoskeletal rehabilitation in England. "Now I'm digging deeper into this condition and trying to understand the brain changes that accompany it."
After graduation, Mansour plans to return to Jordan where he will be filling a faculty position at The Hashemite University in Zarka.
"I have learned a lot here, and I really would like to help my country improve in physical therapy and rehabilitation," says Mansour, whose father is a physical therapist. "I can't wait to share my experience and knowledge with my future students and patients."