The Virtual Vine Blog

Insights and information about concussion health and a smarter recovery. Plus timely tips for your everyday well-being – from food and exercise, to meditation and mindfulness.

 Tags: User Experience

We couldn’t be prouder of Neurovine researcher Jordan Hassin who is about to embark on an exciting new adventure as a medical student at the University of Ottawa. We invited Jordan to reflect on his two years with Neurovine, as well as his upcoming journey to med school. We will miss you, Jordan!


The Growth of Neurovine and the Expanding Role of the Research Team

As Neurovine continues to grow as a company and progress as a thought leader in the concussion recovery space, I often find myself reminiscing about the company’s very earliest days and how far we’ve come as a team. When I first heard about Neurovine, I was just beginning my third year of undergraduate studies in human kinetics. My dad, who works closely with various technology startups in Ottawa, mentioned that he had recently connected with a founder who started her company aiming to develop a better solution to concussion recovery. 

Almost immediately I thought to myself that this would be the ideal place to work: I would be connecting what I was formally studying in my human kinetics degree with my passion for playing competitive sports. Check out my first blog, Five Tips from an Elite Athlete to Promote Brain Health

Moreover, the opportunity to work in the health research field and study an injury that is still so novel was something I wanted to be a part of. So, like any eager student looking for a summer job, I LinkedIn with the founder of Neurovine to try my luck. Little did I know that I was connecting with the best boss I could ever ask for and would shortly thereafter be hired as Neurovine’s second-ever employee! Thank you again, Ashleigh!

Today, I can proudly say that I’ve spent almost two years as part of the Neurovine family, primarily as part of the research team. Working with this team has been both stimulating and personally rewarding. We are often faced with a wide variety and a growing number of tasks, such as developing study protocols, organizing data collections with participants (this has been notably interesting amidst COVID-19 restrictions), forming professional partnerships with clinicians in the field, and preparing materials for publications. Not only do we get to carry out research studies and work directly with participants, but we also see the result of the combination of hard work from the software, data science, and marketing teams and everyone in between who make the research and development of our concussion recovery technology possible. 

The Secret to Neurovine's Success: A Cohesive Group Working to Push Concussion Recovery Forward

From a personal standpoint, I believe the major highlight from my experience working at Neurovine has been the company’s warm and inclusive day-to-day culture. As part of the research team, I’ve had the pleasure of joining meetings from all facets of the company and as a result, the collaboration and communication with the other team members have become easy and harmonious. All of our team members have good personal relationships with each other which further enhances the comradery and cohesion that has been a key ingredient in the company’s early successes. In fact, even though the pandemic limited our possibilities of working and interacting in person, I feel that the company has become even more tightly knit. One example that immediately comes to my mind is our quarterly virtual team-building events over the past year and a half. For this reason, it is no surprise to me that we, as a team, not only navigated through the challenges of working during COVID, but actually thrived and came out stronger as a result. 

Now for all the fun I’ve had working at Neurovine, my time as a researcher has been equally enlightening as it pertains to the study and understanding of concussion and concussion recovery. As a condition that manifests from the abrupt movement of the brain inside the skull which causes largely undetectable bruising, concussion is still relatively novel and poorly understood. With that being said, our current research and the work from other thought leaders in this space have led to some amazing new insights. A study conducted by Leddy et al. (2019) showed that when recovering from a concussion, it is actually beneficial to exercise at a sub-maximal heart rate. Consequently, this finding changed the way clinicians in the field prescribe concussion recovery guidelines today related to physical activity. At Neurovine, we have adopted a similar approach to the cognitive aspect of recovery. The goal of our research is to develop a wearable, EEG-based recovery solution which would allow users to return to cognitive activity during recovery but be warned before overexerting themselves. In the same way that exercising at a sub-maximal heart rate would help speed concussion recovery, so would working at a sub-threshold cognitive level. 

While the nuances of our investigations into the cognitive aspect of concussion recovery continue to be examined, the idea of promoting some degree of return-to-activity is progressively becoming the standard of practice in the field. As you might imagine, working with Neurovine to push forward these ground-breaking changes in concussion recovery has given me an incredible insight into the future directions of care relating to concussion. Most importantly, my work has also allowed for an in-depth understanding of this approach that I will be fortunate enough to implement as a matriculating medical student this fall, and in my practice in the future! 

The Invaluable Experience I've Gained as a Future Medical Professional

As I reflect upon my time with Neurovine over the past two years, I am constantly reminded why I decided to pursue a career in medicine, and equally why I enjoyed my role with the company so much. My desire to go to medical school, and one day practice as a physician, reflects my passion for a constantly evolving field in which the learning never stops. In medicine, not only are you expected to constantly keep up with the latest research and approaches to care but you are also encouraged to provide the link between the practical setting and the directions of research as well. To me, this is exactly the attitude that Neurovine has adopted. From the issues originating in the ambiguities of care relating to concussion in real-world settings, Neurovine set out to research and develop a more effective, personalized, and accurate solution. Consequently, while my time with the company was not the reason I decided to pursue a medical career, my time with Neurovine reaffirmed my passion for the field and gave me reassurance in my decision. For this, I am extremely grateful!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ashleigh Kennedy once more. Working with you and your team on a daily basis was always fun, enjoyable, and educational. You are an inspiration to me and I hope to be back next summer in any way the company needs me! I would also like to thank Matt Kennedy and Andrea Pepe, with whom I worked most closely on the research team. Matt, although we only saw you a few times a week, the research meetings were never complete without you and I thank you for all the guidance you’ve provided me over the past year and a half. Andrea, you continue to be an incredible leader for the research team, navigating the constant changes and requirements thrown at you, and continuing to move the team forward. I couldn’t have done my job without you, thank you so much! Lastly, thank you to everyone on the data science, software, and marketing teams. Whenever I had questions or needed to join one of your meetings, I was always welcomed with open arms and always learned something new! I have no doubt I will be keeping in touch with many of you and I will also be keeping a keen eye on the company’s progress over this next year. I’m already looking forward to coming back!

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