Measures of Peripheral Vison Reaction Time - Quick, Inexpensive, and Objective

A research team with affiliations at a number of universities and funded by a grant from the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command has reported that a new test of peripheral vision reaction time (PVRT) may permit better diagnosis and treatment of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or concussion. Corresponding author Peter Bergold, PhD, professor of physiology and pharmacology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center commented “Mild traumatic brain injury is currently diagnosed with subjective clinical assessments. The potential utility of the peripheral vision reaction test is clear because it is an objective, inexpensive, and rapid test that identifies mild traumatic brain injury patients who have a more severe underlying injury.” The results of the study are published online in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Most patients who suffer mTBI recover fully, but a significant fraction do not, and earlier diagnosis could help clinicians respond better to the needs of patients at risk for persistent symptoms. These may include headaches, memory loss, inability to concentrate, anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, and heightened sensitivity to light and noise. The study measured reaction time in 23 patients within 24 hours of mTBI, and looked for correlations with white matter abnormalities in centroaxial structures, and impairments in neuropsychological testing. The findings suggested that PVRT indirectly measures white matter integrity in the posterior corpus callosum, a brain region frequently damaged by mTBI. A news story about the diagnostic advance may be read here. The journal abstract may be read here.

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