Non-Invasive Brain Scan Evaluates Concussion Recovery
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ May 26, 2016
A concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, is caused by a blow or jolt to the head that interrupts normal brain function. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 (the most recent year for which it reports statistics), about 2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The CDC estimates that in 2009, nearly 250,000 children under the age of 19 were treated in emergency rooms for concussions related to sports and recreational activities. As doctors learn more about the potentially lasting effects of even a mild concussion, efforts are underway to better prevent and treat these injuries.
A brain scan to track concussion recovery
Now, Philly.com reports that ElMindA, an Israeli health firm with offices near Chicago, is working on a non-invasive brain scan to evaluate concussions and track recovery. Called the Brain Network Activation test (BNA), the test requires a patient’s head to be fitted with a net of sensors that measure brain activity (also called “neuronal firing”) while the patient hits a button as part of a reaction test. The results are then uploaded to a web portal, where they are available to both the patient and clinicians. As ElMindA’s CEO explains it, the BNA test measures the electric field on top of the skull and analyzes it through algorithms and other tools to evaluate what is happening inside the brain.
Currently, the BNA test (which is not widely available) is marketed to young athletes for concussion evaluation. ElMindA hopes that one day its test will be a regular part of patient checkups, to establish a baseline for how an individual’s brain works, against which signs of deterioration or change can be measured. The company has FDA authorization to test working memory, attention, and sensory processing in individuals ages 14 to 24. In the future, the BNA test might have implications for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. Early detection of brain changes could lead to better diagnosis and treatment of these and other neurological conditions.
Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act
Many states now have laws dealing with concussions in youth sports. In 2012, Pennsylvania’s Safety in Youth Sports Act went into effect. The Act’s goal is to reduce the risk of concussion and its long-term consequences for student athletes. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia summarizes the law’s requirements, which focus on educating parents, educators, coaches and health professionals about concussions. The law also mandates certain requirements when a child has suffered a concussion:
- A student who exhibits signs and symptoms of concussion must be removed from play; and
- A student must be evaluated and cleared in writing to return to play by an appropriate medical professional.
A coach who violates these statutory provisions faces penalties ranging from suspension for the remainder of the season to permanent suspension from any coaching activity.
Reach out to a Philadelphia brain injury attorney to learn more
A concussion is a serious injury that can have lasting consequences for your child. If your child or a loved one has suffered a concussion as a result of someone else’s negligence, your family may be entitled to recovery for the harm sustained. At Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., our experienced Philadelphia brain injury attorneys are here to help. Contact us for a consultation about your case.