Assessment station may enhance brain injury diagnoses

1 min read

A neuroscientist at Queen’s University in Canada has developed a system to improve the way healthcare workers assess patients suffering from brain injuries and disease.

The new KINARM Assessment Station, invented by Stephen Scott, is claimed to be the only objective tool for assessing brain function, and clinical researchers could use the tool to develop better therapies for treating brain injury 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,’ said Scott, a professor at the Centre for Neuroscience Studies at Queen’s University. ’Traditional testing methods, such as touching a finger to the nose or bouncing a ball, just don’t capture the complexity of brain processes.’

KINARM combines a chair with robotic ’arms’ and an augmented reality system that enables researchers to guide their patient through a series of standardised 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 X-rays did for diagnosing muscular and skeletal injuries,’ said John Molloy, president and chief executive of Queen’s University’s PARTEQ Innovations, which helped commercialise the technology along with BKIN Technologies.

Machines are being designed for actions which they can perform better and more reliably than the human hand while remaining under a surgeon’s control. Click here to read more.