New Developments in Brain Injury Diagnostics Could Help West Virginia Victims

Jan 2015

Brain injuries are far too common in West Virginia and throughout the United States. Each year, around 50,000 people in the country die because of a traumatic brain injury. Another 235,000 people are admitted to the hospital to receive treatment for damage to the brain.  Among individuals 35 and under, traumatic brain injury is the top cause of death.

Traumatic brain injuries frequently occur due to car crashes; sporting accidents; slip and falls and violence.  Many TBIs need to be promptly treated in order to prevent permanent and serious damage from occurring to the brain. Even milder traumatic brain injuries like a concussion can have an impact on your health that lasts for weeks. A personal injury lawyer knows that traumatic brain injuries also have a long-term adverse impact on your health because they can make you more likely to develop dementia in the future.

Treatments for brain injuries are limited because these injuries can be hard to detect, hard to diagnose and hard to monitor. A lack of a classification system to quantify brain injuries has also made it difficult for medical professionals to run clinical trials to advance brain injury treatment.  Now, however, Forbes reports that a new study could be an important step forward.

Eye Tracking Technology Could Help Brain Injury Patients

Forbes reported on a study that was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. The study tested the ability of eye tracking to detect brain injuries. Eye tracking technology was developed at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

There were 169 patients included in the study, including 157 people who were neurologically normal and 12 people who had sustained damage to the brain. The patients with the damage to the brain had either injury to parts of the brain affecting the optical nerves or they had swelling in the brain that was near to these nerves.

All of the study participants were asked to watch television videos or music videos. Their eye movements were tracked as they watched. The purpose was to detect the ratio of horizontal and vertical movements (moving the eyes up-and-down versus moving the eyes side-to-side).

In the neurologically normal patients, the ratio was very close to 1:1. In the patients who had problems with the nerves in the brain, on the other hand, these ratios were abnormal. When the brain swelling was surgically corrected, however, the ratios returned to the standard 1:1.  The extent of the abnormality in patients with neurological problems varied depending upon the extent of the brain injury and the location of the brain injury.

Because this approach can be used by physicians to identify brain injuries and monitor improvements, there is hope that it will be a positive step forward in helping brain injury patients. One day, first responders could potentially use this eye tracking technology to determine if people who suffered accidents sustained brain injuries. Doctors could also use it to monitor a patient’s progress over time.

Contact a West Virginia accident attorney at the Recht Law Offices.  Call 1-800-487-8546 today for a free consultation or visit

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