The technology could be used in hospital emergency rooms to detect traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that sometimes are not easy to diagnose.
Researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center used an eye-tracking device on healthy individuals and people with brain injuries in order to measure whether the eyes moved in sync with each other. The researchers believe that doctors could use the technology to detect brain injuries in emergency rooms or even on the sidelines at sporting events
Uzma Samadani, assistant professor in the Departments of Physiology at NYU Langone, and the lead author of the study, said, “Concussion is a condition that has been plagued by the lack of an objective diagnostic tool which, in turn, has helped drive confusion and fears among those affected and their families.”
In their study, the researchers examined 64 healthy people and 75 people who suffered trauma resulting in hospital admission. All the participants of the study were between the ages 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.
The researchers believe that the new technique will help doctors to identify concussion patients who need attention. The researchers suggest that their latest technique is simple and non-invasive but can still effectively diagnose concussions.
“Eye-tracking can help to objectively reveal when one patient may be much more affected by a concussion than another,” added Samadani.
The findings were published in the Journal Neurotrauma.
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