A new breakthrough in the way that medical professionals assess brain injuries may have just emerged through a new study at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. Researchers used a brand new technology to track eye movements of patients watching music videos of under four minutes in length, helping them to assess the location of the brain injury and the impact the injury has had on the subject.
The results of the research are promising; this new eye-tracking technology could eventually serve as a sort of biological marking point that will help to pinpoint the location of brain injuries and monitor how patients are recovering from them. Researchers hope that this technology will be effective for people who have suffered both traumatic and mild traumatic brain injuries.
The study consisted of 169 patients, 157 of whom were “neurologically normal” while the other 12 had certain abnormalities in nerves that control the movement of the eyes, or brain swelling close to those important cranial nerves. Eye motions from side to side and up and down are controlled by those nerves. Participants watched television or music videos for 220 seconds, while researchers measured the ratio of horizontal to vertical movements in the eyes of the participants. For those participants deemed neurologically normal, the ratios were approximately 1:1. However, those participants with swelling or nerve damage had abnormal ratios. Surgery in participants with abnormal eye movements corrected those movements to a normal ratio.
The results of this study are good news for medical experts who continue to look for new ways to diagnose and treat traumatic brain injuries.
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