Oculomotor, Vestibular, and Reaction Time Tests in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

PLoS One. 2016 Sep 21;11(9):e0162168. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162168. eCollection 2016.

Abstract

Objective: Mild traumatic brain injury is a major public health issue and is a particular concern in sports. One of the most difficult issues with respect to mild traumatic brain injury involves the diagnosis of the disorder. Typically, diagnosis is made by a constellation of physical exam findings. However, in order to best manage mild traumatic brain injury, it is critically important to develop objective tests that substantiate the diagnosis. With objective tests the disorder can be better characterized, more accurately diagnosed, and studied more effectively. In addition, prevention and treatments can be applied where necessary.

Methods: Two cohorts each of fifty subjects with mild traumatic brain injury and one hundred controls were evaluated with a battery of oculomotor, vestibular and reaction time related tests applied to a population of individuals with mild traumatic brain injury as compared to controls.

Results: We demonstrated pattern differences between the two groups and showed how three of these tests yield an 89% sensitivity and 95% specificity for confirming a current diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury.

Interpretation: These results help better characterize the oculomotor, vestibular, and reaction time differences between those the mild traumatic brain injury and non-affected individuals. This characterization will allow for the development of more effective point of care neurologic diagnostic techniques and allow for more targeted treatment which may allow for quicker return to normal activity.

Grant support

This work was supported by Head Health Challenge II grant (National Football League, Underarmor, General Electric) and Department of Defense grant W81XWH-12-C-0205. These sponsors provided funding to conduct the study, only. The funder provided support in the form of salaries for authors (MEH, MS, CB) but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Author Alex Kiderman is employed by Neuro–Kinetics, Inc. Neuro–Kinetics, Inc. provided support in the form of salaries for author AK, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific role of this author is articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.