Can This Eye Test Quickly Detect A Brain Injury?

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Brain injuries can be difficult to diagnose. In all cases, brain injuries need to be evaluated quickly and accurately to ensure that patients receive the right kind of care.

In high-impact sports like football, this quick diagnosis is particularly important. High acceleration injuries (when two players are moving quickly and collide) can create brain injuries that are only detectable with advanced medical technologies that aren’t immediately available. Players may be diagnosed with simple concussions, or their serious injuries may go unnoticed altogether.

If not treated properly, these brain traumas can develop into critical and even life-threatening problems. A concussion puts the player’s brain in a fragile state. This means if they suffer a second blow to the head, it can cause permanent damage. Young athletes who sustain brain injuries also face an increased risk of permanent trauma. As reports of sports-related injuries have increased, medical professionals have struggled to develop ways to diagnose these injuries immediately and begin effective courses of treatment. Fortunately, scientists may have created a device that evaluates potential brain injuries in real-time.

A New Eye Test Could Detect Sports-Related Concussions On the Field

In one study, several high school football players wore helmets that contained that device, the Head Impact Telemetry System (HITS). The system was designed to record data for all instances of head trauma for the players’ season. All of the players received neurological testing prior to the game in order to measure and take into account any instances of previously head or brain injury.

During the season, seven players suffered instances of a high acceleration injury. Normal tests—such as measuring pupillary distance and the time it took for a pupil to dilate—did not detect any significant trauma. However, the HITS in their helmets measured minute data concerning the players’ pupillary traits, without room for human error. The results revealed injuries that traditional tests could not detect.

Better Brain Injury Tests Benefit Everyone

The HITS is quite obviously good news for those who play sports or engage in high-impact activities that are connected with brain injuries. However, the development of HITS is also beneficial for the general population. If HITS becomes widespread and further studies prove its reliability, head trauma victims could have a quick and easy way to understand their injuries and seek appropriate help. With a quick and accurate diagnosis, they would be able to start treatment much faster before the injury worsened or began to affect other areas of the body. Medical professionals would be able to administer correct treatments, and those involved would be able to avoid the high physical, emotional, and financial costs of an advanced injury or disease.

It will no doubt be some time until HITS or a similar device is adopted on a large-scale level. For now, most medical professionals will probably stick to the methods that have been studied and understood to work. However, it is very easy to imagine a future where HITS and other technologies become the new normal in medical diagnosis.

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Elizabeth Davis