Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Using Virtual Reality to Diagnose Concussions | Medpage Today

Two U.K. institutions conduct trial of Oculus Rift 

for concussion dx

  • by 

Many professional athletes develop premature dementia causing a loss of employability and chronic illness with a cost to society.  Numerous tests have been proposed to rule out TBI early.

Britain's University of Birmingham and the University of East Anglia are conducting 
a trial to evaluate the use of the Oculus Rift VR headset to detect head injuries. 
Combined with a balance board, the system is aimed at detecting subtle neurologic 
changes to assist medics and physicians in concussion diagnosis. 
The Nintendo Wii Balance board game is a console game which can be used for testing.
While much current attention on concussions in the U.S. has involved football players, in 
the U.K. the focus has been on soccer players with head injuries. Both collisions at the goal
 (often between forward and goalie) and heading a soccer ball have the potential for head 

The VR study involves players wearing the headset while standing on a balance board and 
being asked to follow directions while balancing. Of course, while having a device like the 
Oculus Rift at the sidelines may not be feasible (it requires a PC connected to it), perhaps future research will look into the use of a mobile VR headset (Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear 
VR, etc.) for use instead.
Funding for the study of  several mobile apps is occuring that are designed to help diagnose concussions and also manage concussion symptoms. Several studies have investigated the 
use of Nintendo Wii balance boards for use with brain injury management as well.
Other mobile apps have become available for iPhone and iPad which do not require VR 
However, the use of immersive VR for concussion diagnosis remains an area with very 
limited research. While no results have been released yet from this U.K. study, it's certainly an interesting angle and one that hopefully is published soon.

These early proposals for the use of VR in concussion diagnosis are not yet proven with 
scientific studies.  They are also not FDA approved.

iMedicalApps: Using Virtual Reality to Diagnose Concussions | Medpage Today

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