After a blow to the head, it can be difficult to determine the severity of the injury or whether it is life-threatening. This is a major cause for concern since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have cited brain injuries as the top cause of both death and disability for people under the age of 35.
As the Washington Post reports, around 1.4 million people experience a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States. A Spartanburg injury lawyer knows that triaging these patients is a challenge that doctors face. Now, however, a new test could be the solution to identifying when a brain injury is serious.
Eye-Tracking Technology Could Improve Brain Injury Diagnostics
Traditional brain imaging techniques are limited and concussions, the most common form of brain injury, often evade detection when a brain scan is performed.
Researchers have been exploring the possibility of using an eye-tracking tool to better diagnose and treat sufferers of traumatic brain injury (TBI). New York University’s Langone Medical Center conducted a large-scale study of 169 veterans to see if eye-tracking worked. Of the veterans, 157 were healthy and 12 had known problems including either:
- Brain swelling in the area near the nerves in the brain responsible for moving the eyes up and down or
- Actual damage to the optical nerves in the brain.
All of the veterans were asked to watch a music video or a television clip for a 3.5 minute period of time. The eye movement of the participant’s was monitored as they watched. The research found that the healthy subjects had a ratio of vertical-to-horizontal movements of the eyes that was close to one-to-one. In other words, they moved their eyes up, down and side-to-side close to equally when watching the video.
For the subjects with known problems with the optical nerves, however, the eye movement ratio was “significantly skewed” depending upon which nerves were affected.
For all of the 12 injured veterans, the researchers were able to successfully identify the area of the injury to the brain or the weakness in the optical nerves solely from determining how the ratio of eye movements was affected.
This could be a potential breakthrough because it “suggests a potential new method for classifying and quantitating the extent of the injury,” according to the co-director for the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for the Study of Post-Traumatic Stress and Brain Injury.
Clinical trials for treating brain injury have routinely failed before due to the difficulty of diagnosing and quantifying the extent of the damage. Eye scans are a really non-invasive and cost-effective way to assess the part of the brain that is damaged and to provide insight into the severity of the problems.
Hopefully, if this new diagnostic method takes off, patients will be able to receive better and more prompt care for injuries and the severe and potentially fatal consequences of brain injury may become more treatable.
Contact the Carolina injury lawyers at the Lee Law Offices by calling 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
Nguyen v. Western Digital Corp: On the Statute of Limitations in Personal Injury Cases, Oct. 14, 2014, Winston-Salem Injury Lawyer Blog