The new approach to concussion screening is spreading to colleges nationwide Photo: SyncThink
Jamshid Ghajar once asked a NFL football spottera person who watches games for possible brain injurieshow he recognized a player with a concussion. The spotter replied, Well, if he kneels down and shakes his head, he may have a concussion.
As a neurosurgeon and director of the Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center, Ghajar was more than a little dismayed with that answer. Spotting and other sideline assessments for concussionssuch as having players memorize and recall words, or track a moving finger with their eyesare just okay, Ghajar described on Tuesday to a small crowd at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during a technology conference hosted by ApplySci. Such techniques are not really picking up a biological signal of concussion, he added.
In search of a more accurate, yet speedy way to diagnose concussions, Ghajar and a team at SyncThink, a Palo Alto, California-based company, have developed a mobile eye tracking technology to diagnose concussions based on clinical research. Their goal is to transform concussion diagnoses from guesswork into an objective test.
The EYE-SYNC technologya VR headset platform that tracks eye movements and reports signs of impairment within 60 secondswas approved by the FDA last year and is now being rolled out to Pac-12 football schools and hospitals around the nation. Another eye-tracking tool to diagnose concussions, EyeBOX from Oculogica, tracks 67 -domains of eye movements as participants watch videos, according to the company website . The technology has not yet been cleared by the FDA.
Tools such as this could help reduce the risk of brain damage in athletes, which can occur even before the age of 12, according to a study published this week in the journal Translational Psychiatry. In it, researchers at Boston University found that participation in youth football before age...