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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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