Med Device Monday: Quicker Diagnosis for Concussion

Concussions have been a bit of a hot topic over the past few years. From little leagues to pro athletes, and even to the silver screen, more attention is being paid to these and other Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries (MTBI)—and with good reason. 

Mild brain injuries can be anything but mild. This category of trauma includes concussions (the most common type of MTBI), and symptoms can include pain and headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, changes in sleep patterns, and problems with balance or vision. While there is no treatment for MTBI, diagnosis means the patient can rest and avoid activities that will worsen the damage while giving it time to heal. Multiple concussions in a short amount of time can lead to longterm problems, like Alzheimer's and dementia, but can even cause immediate death.

Unfortunately, it previously hasn't been easy to diagnose MTBI. Some are visible on electroencephalogram (EEG), and others via computerized tomography (CT) scan. CT scans use low doses of radiation to see inside the body, while EEGs do not. This is where Brainscope comes in! Brainscope explains that, "According to recent publications, 95% of all head-injured patients who go to the Emergency Department present with mild symptoms. The vast majority of these head-injured patients receive a CT scan, of whom over 90% are CT negative for structural brain injury, creating needless radiation exposure to patients. The Ahead 300 has the potential to significantly reduce costs and wait times associated with hospital visits and unneeded CT scans." Ahead 300 also allows for a diagnosis on the spot, reducing the need for multiple medical appointments, and along with that, the risk that those appointments might get missed and the injury never be diagnosed.

Photo from brainscope.com.

Photo from brainscope.com.

Using a blend of EEG and proprietary technology, a single-use headpiece is attached to a handheld device. Algorithms are used to analyze brain wave patterns and spot anomalies, resulting in a diagnosis.

In announcing FDA's clearance, Brainscope also shared that, "The Ahead 300 was developed in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense through six research contracts, and with over 20 clinical studies at 55 sites and 16 peer-reviewed publications." Check out the clinical trial that helped demonstrate the Ahead 300's improved accuracy and expanded indications over the Ahead 200 (expanded injury time window and expanded patient age range).