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A Quick Test to Detect Athletes’ Concussions

Some sports such as foot­ball are par­tic­u­larly vio­lent and many play­ers suf­fer con­cus­sions. Con­cus­sions can cause a vari­ety of phys­i­cal, cog­ni­tive, and emo­tional symp­toms. Although symp­toms usu­ally go away within a few weeks with­out treat­ment, they may per­sist, or com­pli­ca­tions (such as demen­tia) may occur. Recent evi­dence shows that even hits to the head that do not lead to a con­cus­sion can impair visual mem­ory. Detect­ing con­cus­sions is thus becom­ing crit­i­cal in high-contact sports.

A new test that can be per­formed at the side­line of sport­ing events seems to accu­rately detect con­cus­sions by look­ing at dif­fer­ent types of eye move­ments that are usu­ally abnor­mal after a concussion:

The test, called the King-Devick test, cap­tures impair­ments of eye move­ment, atten­tion, lan­guage and other symp­toms of impaired brain function.

Tests of rapid num­ber nam­ing such as the King-Devick test are objec­tive and Read the rest of this entry »

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