Brain Injury: Using Music Video Eye Tracking To Predict Recovery

Uzma Samadani, MD. PhD. FACS. Chief Neurosurgeon New York Harbor Health Care System Co-Director Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for PTSD and TBI Assistant Professor Departments of Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience New York University School of Medicine New York , NY 10010MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Uzma Samadani, MD. PhD. FACS.
Chief Neurosurgeon New York Harbor Health Care System
Co-Director Steven and Alexandra Cohen Veterans Center for PTSD and TBI
Assistant Professor Departments of Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Physiology & Neuroscience
New York University School of Medicine New York , NY 10010

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Samadani: Eye tracking has been used for 30 years to investigate where people look when they follow particular visual stimuli.  Tracking has not, however, been previously used to assess underlying capacity for eye movement.  We have developed a very unique eye tracking algorithm that assesses the capacity of the brain to move the eyes.

What we show in this paper is that with our eye tracking algorithm we can show
(1) normal people have eye movements that, within a particular range, have equal capacity for vertical and horizontal movement,
(2) people with specific weaknesses of the nerves that move the eyes up and down have decreased vertical capacity,
(3) people with weaknesses in the nerves that move the eyes to the side have decreased horizontal capacity,
(4) swelling in the brain can affect the function of these nerves and be detected on eye tracking,
(5) eye tracking may be useful as a potential biomarker for recovery from brain injury.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Samadani: Just as EEG informs regarding seizure activity, it is possible that eye tracking will inform regarding acute brain swelling, and disruption of pathways after injury.

A veteran with a small skull fracture and bleeding on the surface of his brain had eye movements that were most intensely affected prior to surgery for repair (day 0). Vertical movements were decreased relative to horizontal movement. As the patient recovered over the next several weeks the eye movements gradually returned to near normal (day 35). Image courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center.

A veteran with a small skull fracture and bleeding on the surface of his brain had eye movements that were most intensely affected prior to surgery for repair (day 0). Vertical movements were decreased relative to horizontal movement. As the patient recovered over the next several weeks the eye movements gradually returned to near normal (day 35). Image courtesy of NYU Langone Medical Center.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

 

Dr. Samadani: Eye tracking will likely have tremendous clinical significance for concussion and brain injury assessment.  It may also be useful for other diseases that affect cranial nerve function and brain function.

Citation:

In addition to Dr. Samadani, co-authors of this study include Sameer Farooq; Robert Ritlop, MEng.; Floyd Warren, MD; Marleen Reyes, BA; Elizabeth Lamm, BA; Anastasia Alex, BS; Elena Nehrbass, BS; Radek Kolecki, BS; Michael Jureller, BS; Julia Schneider; Agnes Chen, BA; Chen Shi, BS; Neil Mendhiratta, BA; Jason H. Huang, MD; Meng Qian, PhD; Roy Kwak, MD; Artem Mikheev, MS; Henry Rusinek, PhD; Ajax Goerge, MD; Robert Fergus, PhD; Douglas Kondziolka, MD; Paul P. Huang, MD; and Theodore Smith, Md, PhD.

Journal of Neurosurgery-posted online Dec. 12, 2014

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