New technology allows medical workers to better assess brain injuries

November 15, 2010, Queen's University

A Queen's University neuroscientist is launching a medical tool at the world's largest neuroscience conference in San Diego on Monday, Nov. 15.

The KINARM Assessment Station will greatly improve the way healthcare workers assess patients suffering from brain injuries and disease.

The new technology, invented by Stephen Scott, is the only objective tool for assessing , and clinical researchers need this tool to develop better therapies for treating or disease.

"The beauty of this system is it that it captures subtle deficits caused by a brain injury that are not measured by traditional tests," says Dr. Scott, a professor at The Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen's. "Traditional testing methods, such as touching a finger to the nose or bouncing a ball, just don't capture the complexity of brain processes."

The Society for Neuroscience Conference, which takes place Nov. 13-17 in San Diego, attracts more than 26,000 people.

KINARM combines a chair with robotic 'arms' and a virtual/augmented reality system that enables neuroscience and rehabilitation researchers to guide their patient through a series of standardized tasks, such as hitting balls with virtual paddles. Once the tests are completed, the system instantly generates a detailed report, pinpointing variations from normal behaviour.

"This system has the potential to do for the diagnosis of brain injury what did for diagnosing muscular and skeletal injuries," says John Molloy, President and CEO of Queen's University's PARTEQ Innovations, which helped commercialize the technology along with BKIN Technologies.

Knowing the full effects of a brain injury on the ability to function in daily life means more effective rehabilitation programs for patients. It also means a better understanding of the potential impact of brain injury, whether caused by accidents or by diseases including stroke, MS, Parkinson's, cerebral palsy or .

KINARM also has potential to help people in professional sports and the military, where impact-based head injuries are an occupational reality, and where there is a significant lack of effective tools for determining when patients can safely return to regular duties without the risk of a career-ending injury.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How your brain remembers what you had for dinner last night

January 17, 2018
Confirming earlier computational models, researchers at University of California San Diego and UC San Diego School of Medicine, with colleagues in Arizona and Louisiana, report that episodic memories are encoded in the hippocampus ...

Recording a thought's fleeting trip through the brain

January 17, 2018
University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response ...

Midbrain 'start neurons' control whether we walk or run

January 17, 2018
Locomotion comprises the most fundamental movements we perform. It is a complex sequence from initiating the first step, to stopping when we reach our goal. At the same time, locomotion is executed at different speeds to ...

Miles Davis is not Mozart: The brains of jazz and classical pianists work differently

January 16, 2018
Keith Jarret, world-famous jazz pianist, once answered in an interview when asked if he would ever be interested in doing a concert where he would play both jazz and classical music: "No, that's hilarious. [...] It's like ...

New study reveals why some people are more creative than others

January 16, 2018
Creativity is often defined as the ability to come up with new and useful ideas. Like intelligence, it can be considered a trait that everyone – not just creative "geniuses" like Picasso and Steve Jobs – possesses in ...

Even without nudging blood pressure up, high-salt diet hobbles the brain

January 16, 2018
A high-salt diet may spell trouble for the brain—and for mental performance—even if it doesn't push blood pressure into dangerous territory, new research has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.