Department of Defense researchers endorse use of eye tests as an effective screening tool for acute mild traumatic brain injury (concussion)
In prior posts we have discussed the growing recognition that one of the signature symptoms of concussion is a subtle change in visual processing. Army researchers funded by the US Department of Defense have just published findings further supporting this understanding in the November 15, 2016 issue of the Journal of the Neurological Sciences.
In the published findings, the authors note that “mild” traumatic brain injury (mTBI) is sometimes difficult to diagnose because of the overlap of symptoms with other disorders such as PTSD. This has led to a quest for biomarkers or diagnostic tests (e.g. protein, imaging, cognitive, neurosensory.) This quest is especially significant for warfighters at risk for more severe “second-impact” concussions and whose lives and safety may be endangered by visual or cognitive compromises. Read More
Different symptom patterns of concussion depend on the precise nature of the damage to the brain
Medical research is increasingly identifying the various ways a concussion can impact the brain and is providing explanations for why different symptoms persist in a subset of people diagnosed with concussion, based on the anatomy and physiology of the brain.
Much of this recent research has benefited from new techniques to “image” the brain, including various MRI techniques such as “diffusion tensor imaging” (“DTI”). In a prior post, I discussed research concerning the subset of concussed patients who experience persistent ocular (vision) and vestibular (balance) problems. A paper published online on April 15, 2014 in the journal Radiology reported that DTI imaging of patients with these symptoms revealed damage in the parts of the brain know to be associated with vision and balance. Read More
Recent literature has highlighted the prevalence of dysfunctions in vision following traumatic brain injuries of all levels of severity (including concussion.) Research published by the Veterans Administration (VA) in 2012 indicates that the percentage of TBI victims with vision problems could be as high as 60%. They explain that this prevalence is not surprising, since over 50% of the brain is involved in visual processing. Alvarez et. al. explain how visual and other symptoms occur when the brain is subjected to “acceleration/deceleration” forces: Read More