New device could change concussion diagnoses

Diagnosing concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can be tricky. Current tests don’t produce reliable yes-or-no results and are susceptible to manipulation by patients looking to avoid a brain injury diagnosis — such as athletes who want to return to play as soon as possible. 

But a new device created by Uzma Samadani, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeon with Hennepin Healthcare and an associate professor of neurosurgery at the University, could change how concussions are identified by providing doctors with quantifiable data, making the diagnosis process much more clear.

The device, called EyeBox, detects signs of concussion by tracking patients’ eye movements as they watch a four-minute video. The movements allow doctors to assess the nerves in patients’ eyes, which are sensitive to potentially elevated intracranial pressure, a telltale symptom of a brain injury. 

After years of clinical testing, EyeBox was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Admin-istration in early 2019 and will be available for physician use from the biomedical company Oculogica. 

“Really what we are talking about is changing the way brain injury is diagnosed and defined,” Samadani told the Star Tribune in January. 

Published on April 3, 2019

Lead image: Courtesy Oculogica