Every 8 seconds somebody in the United States sustains a brain injury due to a fall, collision or accident. Even with today’s advanced medical technology – computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – it is very difficult to figure out the extent and type of brain damage. While most people who have a concussion or even a structural brain injury recover completely, a small percentage do not heal quickly. Without recognition of their injury, these people sometimes suffer in obscurity, self-medicate into an addictive spiral, have impaired professional activity, and develop failed interpersonal relationships.
Our laboratory is investigating methods for improved classification of brain injury to enable better identification of people who do not recover. The primary methodology that we are developing for quantitation of the extent of injury utilizes eye tracking. A research subject watches a short film clip or music video as it plays on a monitor. A camera measures eye movements with high precision and identifies patterns associated with brain injury.