Peripheral vision reaction time assessment to diagnose mild traumatic brain injury patients

A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion, according to Peter J. Bergold, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and corresponding author of a study published by the Journal of Neurotrauma.

While most patients with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion fully recover, a significant number do not, and earlier diagnosis could lead to better management of patients at risk for developing persistent symptoms, according to Dr. Bergold and his co-authors. Lingering symptoms may include loss of concentration and/or memory, confusion, anxiety, headaches, irritability, noise and light sensitivity, dizziness, and fatigue.

“Mild traumatic brain injury is currently diagnosed with subjective clinical assessments,” says Dr. Bergold. “The potential utility of the peripheral vision reaction test is clear because it is an objective, inexpensive, and rapid test that identifies mild traumatic brain injury patients who have a more severe underlying injury.”

Reference: Womack, Kyle B., Christopher Paliotta, Jeremy F. Strain, Johnson S. Ho, Yosef Skolnick, William W. Lytton, L. Christine Turtzo, Roderick Mccoll, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, and Peter J. Bergold. “Measurement of Peripheral Vision Reaction Time Identifies White Matter Disruption in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.” Journal of Neurotrauma, 2017. doi:10.1089/neu.2016.4670.
Research funding: United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine.
Adapted from press release by SUNY Downstate Medical Center.