Concussion and mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) can now be diagnosed with the help of this new medgadget. DETECT (Display Enhanced Testing for Concussions and mTBI system) is a device co-developed at Georgia Tech and Emory University. From the press release:
The DETECT device is an integrated system that includes software applications, a portable computer and an LCD display in the headgear.
While a typical mTBI test requires a quiet room and 1-2 hours of testing, DETECT performs neuropsychological tests in an immersive environment in about 7 minutes, regardless of surrounding noise and movement. So, a football player or soldier who just took a hard hit to the head can take the test and either be safely cleared to get back on the field or sent to receive medical attention.
The device blocks external stimuli that could interfere with testing, such as light and sound. This allows the test to be given in virtually any setting, even a bright football field with a roaring crowd.
When suffering from mTBI, a person will have difficulty with certain types of thinking controlled by a different areas of the brain, such as working memory, complex reaction and multi-tasking. DETECT runs the wearer through three types of neuropsychological tests that measure the function of several parts of the brain as it attempts to perform the tests.
For example, the first shows the wearer a series of shapes with different colors and textures and gives voice instructions. The wearer uses a simple controller similar to a video game controller to respond to the commands. The device then measures the wearer’s response times and answer selections. If the response time is too slow or the incorrect answers were provided, it indicates impairment.
The DETECT system includes a laptop to run the software, a head-mounted display, earmuffs that also act as headphones and an input device (controller). The display projects the visual aspect of the test, the headphones provide the verbal instructions and the controller records the wearer’s response.
In addition, DETECT may have other potential uses, such as neurophysiologic testing for impairments of Alzheimer’s disease or drug use.
The press release at the Georgia Institute of Technology…
More at the New Scientist…