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New test may quickly identify mild traumatic brain injury with underlying brain damage

February 16, 2017

Brooklyn, NY - A new test using peripheral vision reaction time could lead to earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment of mild traumatic brain injury, often referred to as a concussion, according to Peter J. Bergold, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and corresponding author of a study newly published online by the Journal of Neurotrauma.

While most patients with mild traumatic brain injury or concussion fully recover, a significant number do not, and earlier diagnosis could lead to better management of patients at risk for developing persistent symptoms, according to Dr. Bergold and his co-authors.

Lingering symptoms may include loss of concentration and/or memory, confusion, anxiety, headaches, irritability, noise and light sensitivity, dizziness, and fatigue.

"Mild traumatic brain injury is currently diagnosed with subjective clinical assessments," says Dr. Bergold. "The potential utility of the peripheral vision reaction test is clear because it is an objective, inexpensive, and rapid test that identifies mild traumatic brain injury patients who have a more severe underlying injury."

Dr. Bergold's co-authors include colleagues from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; The University of Texas at Dallas; Washington University; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; and SUNY Downstate.

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The article published by the Journal of Neurotrauma is titled "Measurement of Peripheral Vision Reaction Time Identifies White Matter Disruption in Patients with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury" and is available online at: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/neu.2016.4670.

The research leading to the results published by the Journal of Neurotrauma was funded by an award from the United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, award number W81XWH1011061. Support was also received by the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine. The United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command had no input into the design and conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis, or interpretation of the data; or the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding sources.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient's bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively.

SUNY Downstate ranks twelfth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school. For more information, visit http://www.downstate.edu.

SUNY Downstate Medical Center

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