New technologies can now help detect traumatic brain injuries in a more accessible and affordable manner
Summertime is in full swing with baseball games in the park to active participation in water sports, there is the potential for accidents leading to a traumatic brain injury.
The loss of “brain time” from when the traumatic brain injury occurs to diagnosis varies and such can delay treatment. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) defines a concussion as “a sudden movement that can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.”
Fortunately, new technologies can now help detect such injuries in a more accessible and affordable manner than before (rather than strictly relying on CT scans).
There are several recent products to measure traumatic brain injury (TBI) approved by the FDA for professional medical use on a patient.
The Trauma Brain Indicator by Banyan works by measuring levels of two proteins, that are released from the brain into the bloodstream but must be measured within 12 hours of head injury.
The company BrainScope designed non-invasive, timely, point-of-care (POC) tools that can assist with an initial assessment of brain function. The devices provide a complimentary assessment across the continuum of brain care. The devices are for the ages of 18 and older as well as currently focused on TBI in the military, sports, and emergency/urgent care environments both in the U.S. and Canada.
The company ImPACT Applications offers FDA cleared concussion computerized evaluation and management tools for ages 5–70. The application using data and research for testing. Their products are available in the U.S. and European Union.
InfraScan markets portable screening devices that use Near-Infrared (NIR) technology to screen patients for intracranial bleeding followed by immediate referral to a CT scan and neurosurgical intervention. A portable FDA approved medical device is used for a quick triage to assess the patient by priority to the highest trauma level in the Emergency Rooms. The devices can be used for a suspected brain bleed in the intensive care units (ICU), military, field hospitals sports medicine, ambulance, and remote locations.
Oculogica designed a medical device called EyeBOX using “eye-tracking to provide objective information to aid in the assessment of patients with a suspected concussion.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a warning on April 10th, 2019 stating not to use “medical devices marketed to consumers that claim to help assess, diagnose or manage a head injury, including concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI) or mild TBI.” The FDA further warned, that tools like “apps on a smartphone marketed to coaches or parents for use during sporting events — have not been reviewed by the agency for safety and efficacy.”
The safety of adults and children with a possible diagnosis of TBI should only be under the care of a medical professional yet the new technologies discussed in this article can help clinicians be more proactive in treating patients. 🙏🏾