Portable EEG for diagnosis of traumatic brain injury
Brain injury is common in contact sports and recreational activities, but a standard imaging technique to diagnose concussion has still not been established. A proof of concept explores using quantitative EEG to quickly and accurately diagnose concussions on the field.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can happen anywhere and at any time and often can be elusive when it comes to diagnosing. Early diagnosis of TBI is crucial for improving quality of life and preventing subsequent brain injuries. Contact sports, such as football and hockey, are among the most common causes of TBI, but it frequently takes hours or days before an accurate diagnosis can be made or a proper treatment plan can be set-up. This is often due to the long period of time spent on imaging, as well as answering patient’s questions about symptoms, medical history and the incident itself. For this reason, one of the premier forms of neuroimaging used for diagnosing TBI is the EEG because it’s quick and relatively cheap compared to other imaging techniques.
Quantitative EEG (qEEG) analyzes the data from EEG readings and compares them to a normative database and has been beneficial in diagnosing TBIs in a clinical environment. A recent research journal published in Procedia Computer Science proposes EmerEEG, a portable medical device that uses qEEG for early diagnosis of TBI at the time of injury. After an incident or injury occurs, the emergency health care provider would rush onto the site and immediately check for visual signs of injury. The provider would then place an EEG cap onto the patient’s head and conduct an EEG that would then compare the recording to a central database to come up with an indicative diagnosis. It should be noted that the paramedic would not need to be able to understand how to analyze the EEG, just how to perform it. The readings would then be sent to a remote specialist, who could see the readings as well as general information about the patient, such as age, gender, etc. The specialist would then be able to assist the paramedic in proper care, advice and assessment of the situation at hand.
Although this journal was just a proof of concept, research on qEEG and its application in differentiating traumatic brain injuries from other neurological disorders can drastically improve diagnosis accuracy; being able to mobilize this form of imaging while maintaining the quality of assessment and expertise would improve rates of early TBI diagnosis and quality of life for patients.
Procedia Computer Science, 2016. DOI: 10.1016/j.procs.2016.08.252