Researchers from the University of Notre Dame have developed a tablet-based testing system to help diagnose concussions. Professor Christian Poellabauer, PhD, Professor Patrick Flynn, Nikhil Yadav—a university graduate student, and a team of faculty and students developed a system that captures the voice of an individual and analyzes the speech for signs of a potential concussion in real time.
To utilize the system, an individual speaks into a tablet equipped with the Notre Dame program before and after an event, and the two samples are compared for indicators of a traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as distorted vowels or hyper nasality. According to the University of Notre Dame report, the system offers a number of advantages over traditional testing, including high accuracy, low cost, a low probability of manipulation, and portability.
The researchers established baselines for boxers using tests during two annual student boxing tournaments: the Baraka Bouts and Notre Dame Bengal Bouts. The baseline was established using tests such as the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2), the Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool (CCAT), and the Notre Dame iPad-based reading and voice-recording test.
During the 2012 Bengal Bouts, nine concussions out of a total of 125 participants were confirmed by the new speech-based test by the University’s medical team. The testing was done in cooperation with James Moriarty, MD, who has developed a series of concussion testing studies, according to the report.
Poellabauer states that the project is an excellent example of how sensing technologies and mobile computing can transform health care. He adds that, “Because almost 90 percent of concussions go unrecognized, this technology offers tremendous potential to reduce the impact of concussive and subconcussive hits to the head.”
[Source: University of Notre Dame]