Stephanie G.B. Sullivan, D.C.

Subluxation Science

Experiencing a Research Renaissance
Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research


Stephanie Sullivan, DC, Neuroscience Ph.D. candidate – University of Georgia


Dr. Stephanie Sullivan serves as the director of Life University’s Dr. Sid E. Williams Center for Chiropractic Research, fostering the objectively skeptical, collaborative, curious, creative, and exacting environment that science demands. Her work as a Ph.D. candidate with the Biomedical & Health Sciences Institute, Neuroscience division of University of Georgia (UGA) has involved conversations about locating, correcting, analyzing, and then measuring the effects of vertebral subluxation – interestingly, without controversy over the term “subluxation.” Once she had appropriately defined subluxation within the context of chiropractic to the satisfaction of her professors and peers, everyone was able to move forward in the research design process.

 

TCL is especially pleased to honor Dr. Sullivan for her leadership in chiropractic research that explores the effect of correcting spinal subluxation on wellness and optimal performance across a wide spectrum of human health and flourishing, rather than on merely alleviating symptoms or fighting disease. Dr. Sullivan is also leading her team at Life University in the exploration of the adjustment itself. Finally, it is a pleasure to recognize the humility and sense of collegiality with which Dr. Sullivan approaches her role as one of the emerging leaders in the chiropractic research world.

 

TCLFor which professional achievements will you most want to be remembered?

Sullivan: Life University is experiencing a research renaissance, and I am so happy to work with an amazing team to make that happen. For instance, in 2013, LIFE Research Link was launched to advance the state of the art in chiropractic research by studying outcome and practice data where it is actually being generated, namely, in the clinics of practicing doctors. Research Link was designed to provide the infrastructure, support services and expertise to enable doctors in the field to participate in research studies. Included are research updates, longevity studies, vision studies and chiropractor personality profiles. In addition to Research Link, clinical, neuroscience, and biomechanics studies are being conducted by our team in an effort to fully understand the chiropractic subluxation and the role of chiropractic in optimal health.

I am also thankful that Life University has been willing to work with me as I progress towards my PhD. Currently, I am a candidate at the Biomedical & Health Sciences Institute, Neuroscience division – University of Georgia. (UGA), and I have been able to learn so much from my mentors and the faculty at UGA. My goal is to share what I have learned. Through teaching chiropractors and students interested in conducting research, together, we can advance the chiropractic knowledge-base far more than if I were attempting to do everything on my own.

 TCL: What projects are you working on now (or have worked on recently) that you are most excited about and would like more people to know about?

Sullivan: The CCR research team is currently working on over 65 research projects, and one we are particularly excited about is the development of an adjusting mannequin to improve the safety and quality of early chiropractic technique training through development of a lifelike simulator for training students to deliver controlled thrusts into spinal segments. We have created the first prototype and the next step is the development of an actual adjusting mannequin with ballistics gel and 3D printing technology to incorporate force and acceleration sensors in a lifelike model. When we add to this the Myomotion 3D motion capture technology, we will have the ability to gain an understanding of how doctor stance influences force parameters and ergonomics of the adjustment. The long-term goal is to develop an adjusting force training mannequin that can provide students with objective and tactile feedback about the forces they are producing and the effects those forces have on the structure.

We are also really excited about our neuroscience research. Chiropractic patients report how they are able to think, remember, and focus better after an adjustment, and we are working to measure and understand the role we, as chiropractors, have on the brain. Using quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG), we are assessing changes in the brain before, during, and after the adjustment. We are also using computer based cognitive assessment software to design and implement studies of attention, memory, reaction time, and spatial awareness, and we can pair that with evaluation of gait, balance, and eye movements using additional research technology. It is a really exciting time to be a chiropractic researcher at Life University!

 TCL: Is there any thing else you’d like to share?

Sullivan: The Dr. Sid E Williams Center for Chiropractic Research and our research projects are truly a group effort. We work together, as a team, to make all of the exciting research happen. Even for studies I design and implement from start to finish, I work with my team. Our team consists of Brent Russell, M.S, D.C. (Research Faculty), Ronald Hosek, MPH, D.C, Ph.D. (Research Staff), Ed Owens, M.S, D.C, (Research Faculty), Angela Seckington, M.P.A. (Program Manager) and Lucia Paolucci (Administrative Assistant).  We also work closely with current Life University teaching faculty, chiropractors in the field, research faculty at other institutions and research student assistants.

 

Find out more about scholarly research at Life U:

ADDITIONAL INFO:

TCL readers who wish to learn more about the Dr. Sid E Williams Center for Chiropractic Research may find additional information at:

http://www.life.edu/about-pages/research/dr-sid-e-williams-center-for-chiropractic-research/

To learn more about the possibilities for practicing field docs to participate in chiropractic research, be sure and explore the Research Link at:

http://www.life.edu/ResearchLink/

Readers who would like to contact Dr. Sullivan and her team directly may do so by emailing Stephanie.Sullivan@LIFE.edu or by calling 770-426-2636.

RESEARCH EXAMPLES

For a small sampling of the variety of work Dr. Sullivan is spearheading at Life University, please see the list below:

The effects of chiropractic adjustments on brain function as measured by quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG)

Conceived by DC student Dan Tuttle with co-investigators Jerry Hochman and Stephanie Sullivan, this study analyzes statistically significant changes in brain function before, during and after a chiropractic adjustment. Study in process, presented at ACC-RAC 2015.

 Changes in adjustment force, speed and direction factors in chiropractic students after 10 weeks undergoing standard technique training

Edward Owens with co-investigators Ronald Hosek, Linda Mullin, Lydia Dever, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell, study to assess the force profiles of high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) thrusts delivered by DC students to a mannequin on a chiropractic table containing a force platform. Accepted to present at ACC-RAC 2016.

 Kinetic and kinematic analysis of walking gait, before and after chiropractic care, following fifth metatarsal fractures

Brent Russell with co-investigators Kathryn Hoiriis, Ronald Hosek and student Mike Weiner. Biomechanical study of the case of a 61 year-old patient, following a 2nd foot fracture in 5 months. Investigation via motion capture technology and a treadmill instrumented with force sensors. Accepted to present at ACC-RAC 2016.

A practice-based pilot study of patient’s attitudes about long-term care and longevity

Ronald Hosek with co-investigators Edward Owens, Eric Plasker and Stephanie Sullivan, study to perform an exploratory analysis of possible relationships between certain wellness measures, longevity and chiropractic care. Accepted to present at ACC-RAC 2016.

 Seventeen-year-old post-concussive male receiving chiropractic functional neurology care with whole body rotation: a case report

Stephanie Sullivan with co-investigators Michael Longyear, Jonathan Vestal, DC student Dan Tuttle and Ronald Hosek, purpose of this case report was to document changes in clinically based outcome assessments along with brain wave and cognitive changes as assessed through qEEG and computerized cognitive testing of a seventeen-year-old post-concussive male athlete who received chiropractic functional neurology care. Accepted to present at ACC-RAC 2016.

LIFE Research Link

 The Research Link is a practice based research network designed to advance the state of the art in chiropractic research by studying outcome and practice data where it is actually being generated, namely, in the clinics of practicing doctors. Research link is the infrastructure, support services and expertise to enable doctors in the field to participate in research studies with minimal interference to the functioning of their practice. We are currently in process of developing a new website and launching clinical and survey studies. (http://www.life.edu/ResearchLink/)

NOTE: TCL readers interested in a more complete listing of recent research in the CCR, please see the list below:

Dr. Sid E. Williams

Center for Chiropractic Research

Presentations:

ACC RAC 2016 – Accepted

  • Kinematic evaluation comparing internal frame and frameless backpacks: a pilot study
    • Jonathan Bryson, Lori Beth Bryson, Brent Russell      
  • Kinetic and kinematic analysis of walking gait, before and after chiropractic care, following fifth metatarsal fractures
    • Brent Russell, Kathryn Hoiriis, Ronald Hosek, Mike Weiner
  •  Motion capture analysis of students performing side posture set up and thrusts on a mannequin: a pilot study
    • Mike Weiner, Brent Russell, Ann Bishop, Ronald Hosek
  •  The long-term effects of continuing chiropractic care: a feasibility study
    • Ed Owens, Eric Plasker, Ronald Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan
  • How well do diagnosis codes from claims databases represent health issues of chiropractic patients
    • Ed Owens, Joseph Esposito, Ronald Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan
  •  Changes in adjustment force, speed and direction factors in chiropractic students after 10 weeks undergoing standard technique training
    • Ed Owens, Ronald Hosek, Linda Mullin, Lydia Dever, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell
  •  A practice-based pilot study of patient’s attitudes about long-term care and longevity
    • Ronald Hosek, Ed Owens, Eric Plasker, Stephanie Sullivan
  •  Physiological effects of reducing the vertebral subluxation complex with bio-energetic synchronization technique
    • Carla Gibson, Ronald Hosek, Fredrick J. Sherkel
  • Seventeen-year-old post-concussive male receiving chiropractic functional neurology care with whole body rotation: a case report
    • Stephanie Sullivan, Michael Longyear, Jonathan Vestal, Dan Tuttle, Ronald Hosek
  • Kinetic gait assessment before and after chiropractic extremity adjustment: case study of an adult who had pediatric stroke
    • Marni Capes, Brent Russell, Michelle Oz, Ronald Hosek

ACC RAC 2015

  • The Feasibility of Using Electronic Health Records as a Data Source for Practice-Based Research: An Exercise in Inter-Professional Collaboration
    • Ron Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan, Ed Owens, Joe Esposito
  • The impact of chiropractic Activator adjustments on mental rotation and line judgment reaction time: A pilot study.
    • Stephanie Sullivan, Rebecca Shisler Marshall, Lawrence Hansen, John Markham, Tim Guest
  • Establishing Force and Speed Training Targets for Lumbar Spine High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Chiropractic Adjustments
    • Ed Owens, Ron Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell, Linda Mullins, Lydia Dever
  • Quantitative assessment of changes in brain activity after a chiropractic adjustment
    • Dan Tuttle, Jerry Hochman, Stephanie Sullivan, Ron Hosek
  • Kinetic gait evaluation of three patients with foot and ankle injuries, before and after a limited protocol of chiropractic care
    • Brent Russell, Ron Hosek, Kathryn Hoiriis
  •  Effect of Activator Methods Technique on Lowering Hemoglobin A1c Levels in Type II Diabetics: A Pilot Study
    • Katrina Mayes, Anquonette Stiles, Lawrence Hansen, Tim Guest
  •  Improvement in Motor Coordination in a Senior Patient Following Chiropractic Care”
    • Beatrice Tapia
  •  Learning to adjust: Is training to become a chiropractor hazardous to your health?
    • Susan Esposito, Linda Mullin, Ron Hosek, Frederick Carrick
  •  Developing training targets for lumbar spine HVLA adjustments in a chiropractic program
    • Ed Owens, Ron Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell, Linda Mullin, Lydia Dever

WFC 2015

  •  Thrust magnitudes, rates and 3-dimensional directions delivered in simulated lumbar spine HVLA adjustments
    • Ed Owens, Ron Hosek, Linda Mullins, Lydia Dever, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell
  •  Review of the literature and comparison of two practice-based research network recruitment techniques: onsite event recruitment and affiliation recruitment
    • Stephanie Sullivan, Ron Hosek, Ed Owens, Lucia Paolucci

Sherman IRAPS 2015

  • The Impact of Chiropractic Activator Adjustments on Memory, Analytical Abilities and Reaction Time Task Performance: A Pilot Study
    • Jacob Palmer, Mark Amos, Angelo Pierce, Stephanie Sullivan
  • Quantitative assessment of changes in brain activity after a chiropractic adjustment
    • Dan Tuttle, Jerry Hochman, Stephanie Sullivan, Ron Hosek
  • Case Report of a seventeen-year-old post-concussive male receiving functional neurology care
    • Stephanie Sullivan, Michael Longyear
  •  Review of literature and comparison of two practice-based research network (PBRN) recruitment techniques: onsite event recruitment and affiliation recruitment
    • Stephanie Sullivan, Ronald Hosek, Edward Owens, Lucia Paolucci
  • Physiological effects of reducing the vertebral subluxation complex with bio-energetic synchronization technique
    • Carla Gibson, Ronald Hosek, Frederick Sherkel

Sherman IRAPS 2014

  • Inter and Intra Reliability of Heel Tension Scale
    • Karen Feeley and Ed Owens

Publications:

  • Establishing Force and Speed Training Targets for Lumbar Spine High-Velocity Low-Amplitude Chiropractic Adjustments. In press with Journal of Chiropractic Education.
    • Ed Owens, Ron Hosek, Stephanie Sullivan, Brent Russell, Linda Mullins, Lydia Dever
  • Low back pain response to pelvic tilt position: an observational study of chiropractic patients Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. In press with Journal of Chiropractic Medicine
    • Salvatore Minicozzi, Brent Russell, Kathryn Ray, Alessandria Struebing, Edward Owens
  •  Chiropractic student assessment of identity, role and future. Chiropractic & Manual Therapies. 2015
    • J Gliedt; Hawk, C; Anderson, M; Ahmad, K; Bunn, D; Cambron, J; Gleberson, G; Hart, J; Kizhakkeveettil, A; Perle, S; Ramcharan, M; Sullivan, S; Zhang L.
  • Measurement of lumbar lordosis by the Spinal Mouse as compared to lateral radiographs. Submitted European Spine Journal
    • Brent Russell; Kimberly Muhlenkamp; Kathryn Hoiriis
  • Effects of spinal manipulation on sensorimotor function in low back pain patients–a randomized controlled trial. Manual Therapy. 2015
    • Goertz, C; Xia, T; Long, C; Vining, R; Pohlman, K; DeVocht, J; Gudavalli, M; Owens, E; Meeker, W; Wilder, D
  • Low back pain response to pelvic tilt position: an observational study of chiropractic patients. In press. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine
    • Minicozzi, S; Russell, B; Ray, K; Struebing, A; Owens, E

 

 

 

 

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