Golfers Sought for Study to Improve Swing
Study seeks to learn more about “the yips”
CLEARWATER — A local psychiatrist with Morton Plant Mease Heath Care is embarking on a study to prove that a brain imaging scan may improve a golfing condition known as yips, or “the yips.” Nick Dewan, MD, a psychiatrist specializing in sports and neurospyschiatry, is currently seeking 10 local golfers, above the age of 40, with a USGA handicap card to participate. The study requires five golfers suffering from tremors and five who do not have a tremor condition.
Yips is a common term used in several sports referring to a sudden loss of ability. In golf, it is a tremor or twitch that affects a golfer’s swing. It has affected golf pros such as Tommy Armour, Bernhard Langer, Ben Hogan and Sam Sneed. Tiger Woods’ coach, Hank Haney, suffered from the condition and wrote a book about yips. Although it is undetermined what causes the condition, it is thought to be brought on by a biochemical change in the brain, mainly among mature golfers.
“Through this study, we want to determine whether we can isolate and identify the area of the brain that triggers the yips when the individual is thinking about making a golf putt,” said Dr. Dewan. “If we can do that, what we learn may help to develop treatments for other neurological related issues.”
A functional MRI is a magnetic resonance imaging brain scan, measuring specific brain patterns while the patient is thinking about something specific. It has been featured on 60 Minutes in January of 2009.
It is estimated that more than a third of serious golfers have experienced yips. Dr. Dewan, along with neuroradiologist Yair Safriel, MD, will compare the brain scans of golfers with similar age and handicap in the study. If you meet the qualification and would like to participate in this yips study, please contact Dr. Dewan’s office, (727) 723-0779. The functional MRI studies will be conducted at Mease Dunedin Hospital.
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