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Annual Rubicon Research Colloquium – Past Sessions

May 18, 2018. Atlanta, GA. U.S.A.
Rubicon Research Session

Scientific Summary


The past two decades have brought about great insights into central control of spinal function and dysfunction. The speakers of this session are all on the cutting edge of this research and will present the absolute latest scientific evidence about how the brain and central nervous system controls spinal function, and what appears to occur with conflicting task demands on spinal movement control. They will share what has been shown to occur in people with only minor spinal complaints, through to what is known to go wrong in people with chronic spinal pain, as well as present the latest evidence about the neuroplastic mechanisms of chiropractic spinal manipulation.

  • Speakers will present from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.


The Session will include:

  • Heidi Haavik, D.C., Ph.D.,
    Neurophysiological Mechanisms of Chiropractic Care
    Dr. Haavik will present an overview of her work to date striving to understand the neurophysiological mechanisms of chiropractic care. Haavik will share how this research has led to a new understanding about the neuroplastic mechanisms of adjusting dysfunctional spinal segments, demonstrating that spinal function is more important for brain function than previously realized.

Paul Hodges, Ph.D., M.D.
The Two Ends of the Spectrum
Professor Hodges, a world-leading expert in spinal motor control, will eloquently present the neuroscience community’s current neurophysiological understanding about how the central nervous system controls spinal function in healthy individuals and will also touch upon the opposite end of the spectrum – what happens when someone has ended up in chronic pain.

Imran Khan Niazi, Ph.D.
Motor Control & Somatosensory Processing Changes
Dr. Niazi will present some of the many research studies in which he has participated, including those using transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography. He will explain several key measures, including motor-evoked potentials, movement-related cortical-evoked potentials and somatosensory-evoked potentials. Collectively, these studies demonstrate that chiropractic care has a neuromodulatory effect, with the greatest impact on the brain itself, as opposed to the spinal cord.

Kelly Holt, D.C., Ph.D.
Even Minor Spinal Dysfunction Impacts Brain Function
Dr. Holt will share the results of multiple studies showing that even minor spinal problems actually have a greater impact on brain function than previously realized. Holt will also share what happens for these individuals after a single session of chiropractic care – once again demonstrating the profound impact that spinal function has on brain function.

Kemal Türker, Ph.D.
The Marvels of a Gentle Squeeze Professor
Türker will entertain us with his “Marvels of a Gentle Squeeze,” which is what he calls a chiropractic adjustment. Türker will teach us about the various ways one can assess spinal cord excitability and differentiate it from cortical drive. He will also share what he discovered occurs after chiropractic adjustments in healthy adults, elite athletes and chronic stroke patients.

Bernadette Murphy, Ph.D.

Professor Murphy will discuss the results of her many studies that have looked at a much milder form of spinal dysfunction known as sub-clinical pain (SCP). She will present the results of multiple studies she has conducted with Dr Haavik comparing healthy control groups that have no history of any spinal problems with groups of people who have SCP, which means they have a history of recurring spinal pain, ache or tension – but importantly are pain free on the day they are studied. These studies reveal that even a history of mild spinal problem can have a profound impact on brain and body function, even on pain free days, demonstrating that spinal function is more important for brain function than previously realized. Dr. Murphy’s work includes how people’s CNS interpret sound, sight, limb position and overall proprioception, and was reviewed in terms of how these findings are consistent with the neuroplastic phenomenon associated with the chiropractic adjustment. Professor Murphy will discuss in detail the implications for improvements in each of these areas that have been observed following chiropractic adjustments and how these improvements may translate into improved performance in tasks at all levels including enhancing the ability to learn a motor skill, be it athletic, musical or other.

In summation, Dr. Haavik will reflect on the various presentations and how this work has changed the way chiropractic educational institutions view spinal dysfunction and the effects of spinal manipulation, now recognizing spinal manipulation’s neuroplastic effect on the brain. Working with Dr. Haavik and her colleagues they have established an evidence-informed model addressing the mechanisms of chiropractic care. Dr Haavik will present this model in this closing address. This will be followed by a Q&A session with this panel of experts.