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Radar shows promise for detecting concussions in athletes and soldiers
Date:5/3/2011

for differences in the gait patterns of normal and impaired individuals, we found that healthy individuals could be distinguished from impaired individuals wearing the goggles," explained Palmer. "Healthy individuals demonstrated a more periodic gait with regular and higher velocity foot kicks and faster torso and head movement than impaired individuals when completing a cognitive task."

The results also indicated that if no cognitive task was performed, a healthy individual's gait pattern was not statistically different when wearing and not wearing the goggles.

"We found that we needed to examine a person's physical and mental capabilities at the same time to see a change in gait and detect impairment," said Bing. "It's easy for a person to concentrate on one task, but when that person has to multitask we can begin to discriminate between someone who is impaired and someone who is not."

In the future, the researchers plan to collect additional data from healthy individuals of different heights and weights, and from individuals exhibiting concussion symptoms according to neuropsychological screening tests performed at a hospital. They also plan to reduce the size of the system so that it becomes more practical to use.

"For the military, we envision the system could fit into a tough box so that commanders can have it in the field," added Bing. "They could simply press a button, connect the radar system to a laptop, and an easy-to-use interface would display the results and tell them whether their soldier is exhibiting signs of a concussion."

Approval from the Food and Drug Administration will be required before this system can be used to diagnose concussions.


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Contact: Abby Robinson
abby@innovate.gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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