BrainScope test for concussion
BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Between 1.7 million and three million sports-related concussions happen every year. As many as 300,000 of those injured are football players. Concussions are tricky to diagnose; a player might look fine, but develop symptoms hours later. Now there is a new, portable test designed to take the guesswork away.
Football is a tough sport. A hard strike to the head is not uncommon. Twenty-one-year-old Towson University linebacker Zane Ventimiglia suffered not one, but two concussions last season. He didn’t see either hit coming but felt them after.
“I remember being pretty off-kilter. Not able to balance well,” Ventimiglia said.
Athletic director Nathan Wilder says right after injury trainers have to rely partly on subjective tests, like how an athlete looks or says he feels.
“These kids are pretty resilient; they’ll take a hit, come off and say they’re ok. Then a couple of minutes later, they’re not,” Wilder said.
Now there’s a new portable device designed to give an objective assessment. The BrainScope measures brain waves.
“When somebody hits the head, it changes the brain electrical activity pattern,” said Leslie Prichep, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer at BrainScope.
It’s designed so a trainer can easily use it, there’s a disposable headset with sensors that attach to the injured athlete’s forehead. A smartphone with specialized software picks up the readings.
“Using the sophisticated algorithms that the BrainScope one implements, it looks for that set of changes that are distinctive of a traumatic brain injury,” Prichep continued.
The readings can help trainers decide whether the athlete needs more advanced medical screening. A real-time scan for brain injury, without hours of delay.
The FDA has approved the BrainScope device, and it’s funded by the NFL and the Department of Defense. The BrainScope is already being used by some athletic department personnel, like those at Towson University near Baltimore.