Skip to main content

Military Health System

DVBIC eye-tracking tech may help service members with concussions

Image of 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 Center of Excellence

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 (DOD). 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...

Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans

Publication
7/7/2021

The 2021 "Traumatic Brain Injury: A Guide for Caregivers of Service Members and Veterans" is a recovery support tool to assist caregivers of service members and veterans who have sustained a traumatic brain injury at any severity level.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Psychological Health Center of Excellence

NICoE Education Webinar Series: July Poster

Publication
6/25/2021

Service Members and TBI: The Not So Invisible Wound

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Education & Training Events | Centers of Excellence

NICoE Education Webinar Series: June Poster

Publication
6/23/2021

Combat-related Concussion: Understanding Trajectories of Long-term Clinical and Imaging Outcomes

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Education & Training Events

TBICoE Virtual Quarterly Education Series: July 2021

Publication
6/22/2021

The Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence is hosting a caregiver education series to learn about TBI caregiver resources, mind-body wellness exercises, and current research in the field.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBI Educators | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Education & Training Events

Progressive Return to Activity Following Concussion/mTBI Patient and Leadership Guide

Publication
6/22/2021

The Progressive Return to Activity Following Concussion/mTBI Patient and Leadership Guide alerts command and line leaders about the PRA process and provides service members with appropriate activities for each stage of their recovery.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Patient and Family Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

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 Center of Excellence

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

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin March 2021

Publication
3/24/2021

Are you a busy health care provider? Not enough time to keep up with the latest TBI research trends and news? Stay informed with the TBI Hot Topics Bulletin. TBICoE tracks the latest TBI scientific studies, advances, and discoveries most relevant to health care providers. This issue covers the fourth quarter of calendar year 2020.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | TBI Provider Resources | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

HEADS: Protect Your Strongest Weapon

Publication
3/11/2021

This flyer promotes awareness of the key symptoms of concussion/mild TBI.

Recommended Content:

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

NICoE Brain Injury Awareness/March 2021Events

Publication
3/2/2021

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) is hosting a number of virtual events throughout March 2021 in observance of Brain Injury Awareness Month.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Education & Training Events

TBICoE 2020 Publications

Publication
2/25/2021

Master list of 2020 TBICoE Research Publications.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | TBICoE Research | TBI Provider Resources

Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild TBI Provider Training

Publication
2/23/2021

The TBICoE revised the Progressive Return to Activity Following Acute Concussion/Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinical Recommendation (PRA) and this updated provider training slide deck. The trainings objectives will help providers to identify the key changes to the updated 2021 PRA; explain the rationale for using a PRA protocol for service members post-concussion; understand the criteria for progression following a concussion or mild traumatic brain injury; identify appropriate activities at each stage of progression; understand how to apply primary care management strategies and specialty referral considerations to treat concussed service members who are not progressing as expected; utilize the Tri-Service Workflow mild TBI Alternate Input Method Form to document the PRA in the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Application.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Provider Education | TBI Provider Resources | TBI Educators | Education & Training Events

March 2021 Toolkit

Publication
2/22/2021

March is nationally recognized as Brain Injury Awareness Month, with the goal of increasing traumatic brain injury (TBI) awareness and improve health care providers’ ability to identify, care for, and treat all those who are affected by TBI. A TBI is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. According to the Defense Health Agency Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence, 430,720 service members have been diagnosed with a first-time TBI since 2000. The toolkit also contains information on patient Safety Awareness Week, National Nutrition Month and many other graphics and messages you can use for holidays and observances during March.

Recommended Content:

Brain Injury Awareness | Total Force Fitness | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence

2020 DOD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
1/28/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department's office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. Here you'll find data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis in calendar year 2020. The data is also broken down by each branch of the armed services.

Recommended Content:

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

2000-2020 DoD Worldwide Numbers for TBI

Publication
1/28/2021

TBICoE is the Defense Department’s office of responsibility for tracking traumatic brain injury data in the U.S. military. On this page you’ll find annual and quarterly reports that provide data on the number of active-duty service members—anywhere U.S. forces are located—with a first-time TBI diagnosis since 2000.

Recommended Content:

DOD TBI Worldwide Numbers | Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 6
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2022
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery