FDA Clears New Technology to Diagnose Concussion in One Minute
Sacramento, CA - Following the widespread publicity behind the NFL concussion claims, and now the Concussion movie released last December, there is intense interest in immediately diagnosing a concussion following head trauma in order to provide appropriate care. Reuters Health reports that a newly-approved device using infrared cameras to track eye movements promises to help detect concussions in one minute, offering a speedy insight into whether athletes and others have sustained a concussion following a blow to the head.
Symptoms of concussions, a mild form of traumatic brain injury sustained with a blow to the head, can vary from headaches and confusion to slurred speech and vomiting. In certain instances, they can take days to appear. Concussions can be difficult to diagnose, leaving athletes at higher risk of a more serious brain injury if they continue to perform concussed.
Now Boston-based neuro-technology company SyncThink has clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in February for its first device, "Eye-Sync", the first of its kind to get the green light from the authority amid growing concerns over brain injuries in contact sports. With this device the user puts on a virtual reality headset connected to a computer tablet, with a moving circle appearing in the display. As the user follows the circle, the cameras follow the eyes and the data collected is compared against a baseline of normal eye movement for diagnosis.
Head trauma affects the brain's anticipatory neural network which guides human reactions and the tool focuses on analyzing visual response. "Our assessment data is collected at a very high rate which allows us to produce a full assessment within one minute," Dan Beeler, SyncThink chief technology officer, told Reuters.
"The technology we have built into this device has been developed over the past decade and we have been very careful about it." The company has been working with the U.S. military and university sports teams on the device, which costs $25,000.
It is not the only company looking at such equipment. New York-based Oculogica is developing a "patent-pending eye tracking technology" to help detect concussions and traumatic brain injury. The company's proprietary EyeBox technology works by detecting patterns of abnormal eye movements and unlocks the potential to not only localize brain injury but also to assess its severity. Read More...