Scientists have developed a new eye tracking technology that will aid the better diagnosis of concussions.
Researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center claim with the latest eye tracking technology, they are a step closer to effectively detect concussions and also quantify its severity.
Medical experts suggest that concussions are the most common form of traumatic brain injury, which can cause temporary loss of brain function. Concussion can also cause confusion or memory loss. Some types of concussions do not show up on medical reports and are harder to diagnose.
Uzma Samadani, an assistant professor in the departments of Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Physiology at NYU Langone, who is also the lead investigator of the study, explains concussions have 43 diverse definitions. Nobody knows how to properly define concussion, which makes it difficult to diagnose.
Samadani suggests that the new eye tracking technology will make it easier for doctors to address concussion and assess the estimated recovery of a person.
The study points out that about 90 percent of concussion, patients show dysfunction in their eye movement. The latest study examined 64 healthy people and 75 people who suffered trauma resulting in hospital admission. All the participants of the study were between the age of 18 and 60 years.
All the participants were shown a music video and the researchers examined the movement of their eyes for more than 200 seconds. The researchers found that 13 patients who had suffered trauma and had brain damage per CT scan and 39 patients with trauma with head injuries with normal brain scans had reduced ability to properly co-ordinate their eyes while watching the music video.
However, 23 trauma patients who had body injuries but did not require CT scans and healthy participants had normal eye movements.
"Two patients who suffer a head injury and present with virtually-identical CT-scans might have completely different symptoms," says Samadani. "That's where eye-tracking can help objectively reveal when one patient may be much more affected by a concussion than another."
The new technique will help doctors identify concussion patients who need attention. The researchers suggest that their latest technique is simple and non-invasive but can still effectively diagnose concussions. Tracking eye movements will help scientists and doctors to quantify the brain function.
The authors of the study suggest that more research is needed to understand the sensitivity of the technique.
The study has been published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.