Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DVBIC eye-tracking tech may help service members with concussions

Soldier sitting in front of a laptop with headphones on Naval Reserve Officer ENS Carlos Monasterio, a member of the DVBIC Naval Medical Center San Diego research team, demonstrates the Fusion eye-tracking system. (DVBIC photo by Mark Ettenhofer)

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Health Innovation Month

An innovative technology, known as the Fusion Brain Assessment System, tracks eye movements in individuals and shows promise as an objective measure to diagnose and manage service members with concussions, and enhance force readiness, according to ongoing studies by researchers from the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC).

Diagnosing a concussion, also known as a mild traumatic brain injury, usually relies on a screening tool, such as the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation (MACE 2), used by the Department of Defense. These types of tools have a strong subjective element based on patient recall of past traumatic events.

By contrast, the Fusion technology is more objective by assessing eye reaction time that is often slower or more erratic for those who have experienced brain trauma. More than 400,000 active-duty service members have been diagnosed with TBI since 2000, according to figures from DVBIC.

“Through this program of research, we've developed and validated novel methods using eye tracking and measuring electrical brain signals to objectively measure effects of TBI on service members' cognitive, sensory and motor abilities,” said Mark Ettenhofer, a neuropsychologist at DVBIC’s Naval Medical Center San Diego research site in California, and one of the technology’s principal developers. DVBIC is the DoD’s traumatic brain injury center of excellence and a division of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate.

Ettenhofer and his colleagues tested eye movements to determine whether effects of brain injury among study participants would become more pronounced when performing more intellectually demanding tasks. All participants made eye movements as quickly as possible to look at circular images that appeared on a computer screen. As the tasks became more challenging, those with long-term effects from TBIs had greater difficulties than those without them. When combined with other tools, the eye-tracking system could help improve the accuracy of TBI diagnoses.

In the past, research psychologists have measured how quickly the brain processes visual images primarily by having subjects push a button in response. This requires the brain first to see the image, and then send a message to the finger to push the button.

“There is a lot that can happen between visual recognition of a signal [through images] and the pressing of a button,” said Army Major David Barry, a clinical psychologist and the co-inventor of the eye-tracker. He added, “If you are measuring how long it takes a person to look at something versus how long it takes a person to press a button, the eyes are always going to be faster and a more reliable indicator of neural activity.”

The Fusion technology has been used by TBI researchers at other institutions to assess a wide range of brain function. They have studied how TBI and PTSD affect the brain differently, how veterans’ brains changed over time during rehabilitation, and whether various therapies could improve cognition among military personnel and veterans with TBIs.

The DVBIC team in San Diego plans to further test the eye-tracking technology in a virtual reality setting. Participants would complete military-related tasks, such as walking and shooting, while in an immersive 3-D environment. Simultaneously, their eye movements, accuracy, and brain activities would be measured. Subjects with concussions would be compared to others who had not sustained TBIs to develop an objective measure of recovery. Researchers hope to develop tools that military commanders can use in the field to predict whether a service member is ready to return to duty or requires additional rest.

“Our goal is to use this technology to detect TBI-related problems earlier and more accurately, and to be able to track recovery over time to help injured service members return to duty when they're ready,” Ettenhofer said.

You also may be interested in...

Health Innovation: DIY Ventilators

Infographic
6/2/2021
Social media graphic on Health Innovation Month showing a service member building a ventilator

Health Innovation Month Developing inexpensive DIY ventilators to meet demand and patient need

Recommended Content:

July Toolkit | Health Innovations across the MHS Enterprise | Health Innovation Month

TBI Topic Page Review Form

Publication
5/21/2021

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE) manages the content on the Health.mil Traumatic Brain Injury Topic Page for the Defense Health Agency (DHA). To submit content for review and approval to this page, Military Health System agencies and other government partners can email this form, along with attached content in a Word document, to the TBICoE website manager at dha.TBICoEinfo@mail.mil.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

Signs and symptoms of a stroke, and what to do about them

Article
5/18/2021
Infographic about the sign of a stroke

For Stroke Awareness Month, we highlight some of the most important facts about strokes in men and women.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Traumatic Brain Injury

TRIP initiative bridges the gap between TBI research, clinical care

Article
5/13/2021
a statue of a broken circle

The Defense Intrepid Network launches the TRIP initiative to translate research findings into clinical practice.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month | Centers of Excellence

Longitudinal Study on Traumatic Brain Injury Incurred by Members of the Armed Forces in OIF/OEF

Congressional Testimony
5/4/2021

HR 5122 NDAA Conference Report for FY 2007 Sec. 721

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury

NICoE at forefront of traumatic brain injury research and treatment

Article
5/3/2021
Picture of a mask with the American flag on one side and camo on the other side

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence is dedicated to treating and researching TBI injuries with the aim of getting patients back to maximum function.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Centers of Excellence

Help With Ongoing Symptoms Following Concussion/Mild TBI Fact Sheet

Fact Sheet
4/28/2021

Although the majority of service members recover from concussion with little to no intervention, some experience symptoms beyond the first three months after their initial injury. This fact sheet addresses why symptoms continue to persist in some patients and how they can cope or seek additional help.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | TBI Educators | Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury

METC NDT trainees learn about brain disorders & care

Article
4/23/2021
Military health personnel wearing face mask practicing using an EEG

NDTs help diagnose problems with the brain and nervous system, as well as sleep disorders, by use of state-of-the-art digital equipment to record electrical patterns which result in valuable data that the doctor needs to diagnose and treat their patients.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Month

DHA Appointing Portal simplifies signing up for COVID-19 vaccination

Article
4/23/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask scheduling COVID-19 vaccine shots

A new online and easy-to-use COVID-19 vaccine appointment portal is rolling out around the world at Military Treatment Facilities. It needs some tweaking on the admin end, users say.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Health Innovation Month

Tele-critical care will play increased COVID-19 response role in 2021

Article
4/15/2021
Infographic that says "202 tele-critical care successes will help 2021 COVID19 response"

Virtual health and particularly tele-critical care for critically ill patients assumed frontline roles in sustaining care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams safe.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health System Transformation | Health Innovation Month

MACE 2 Provider Training Refresher

Publication
4/5/2021

This version of the MACE 2 Provider Training is a shortened refresher of the full-length training slides.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal expands new features

Article
4/5/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask looking at a computer screen

The MHS GENESIS patient portal is readying new features and expanding existing ones, including its online library, and has rolled out special COVID-19 capabilities.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | Health Innovation Month

MHS Minute March 2021

Video
4/1/2021
Image of MHS Minute Carousel

March marked Brain Injury Awareness month in the military. We're spotlighting efforts across the MHS to combat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and better understand how TBI impacts our Service members. For more information about the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), go to walterreed.tricare.mil/NICoE For more info on the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE), go to Health.mil/TBICoE

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Traumatic Brain Injury

Telemedicine advances put to the test during pandemic

Article
4/1/2021
Uniformed service member stands behind wall of computer screens

COVID-19 has led to the need for physical distancing and has overwhelmed the capacities of health systems, compelling many to adopt telehealth solutions.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Health Innovation Month

DHA Centers of Excellence collaborate to improve TBI care

Article
3/31/2021
Medical personnel holding a model of the inner ear

The centers of excellence are divisions of the Defense Health Agency Research and Development Directorate.

Recommended Content:

Centers of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit | Brain Injury Awareness Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 16

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.