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Concussion detection may soon be possible with a smartphone

A person may sustain a blow to the head without realizing it is serious when there is no loss of consciousness or other signs of a traumatic brain injury. However, after the brain collides with the skull, damage could begin with bruising or bleeding that do not cause symptoms at first. Swelling and pressure create new issues that may show up days or even weeks later, though. How does someone know if they have a concussion or more severe TBI?

Right now, it is difficult to know if there is a problem without professional medical attention. Doctors can shine a light into the eye of a person who may have a TBI and gauge from the response of the pupils whether the injury is severe. Some hospitals have a pupillometer, which performs the same test with greater accuracy. Soon, the pupillary light reflex may be measurable by anyone with a smartphone.

Scientists are working on an app that uses the camera's flash and video functions to replicate this test and analyze the results. When the app is released to the public, possibly within two years, researchers believe it will be able to identify even mild brain injuries. Placement and light control are two issues that the developers are still working on. 

Until the app is available, people who experience a head trauma in a traffic collision, sports activity or other situation should not hesitate to seek medical attention. When someone else is responsible for the injury, an attorney may be able to help hold that person liable for the expenses that arise from the TBI.

Source: New Atlas, "Smartphone app scans pupils to detect concussions," Nick Lavars, Sept. 6, 2017

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