Friday, May 27, 2011

Get Your Head Examined!

You'd have to be really checked out to have missed the hubbub about concussions, aka "traumatic brain injury" or TBI, that has been in the media over this past year.   Now you have an opportunity to protect yourself or your child, to contribute to neuroscience and to make some money.   How much fun is all of that for a summer when jobs are scarce and it's going to be hot?

Here is the story.    Standards for concussion diagnosis and management are rapidly changing.  It is now clear that concussions are much more common than previously recognized and that recovery may take much longer than we knew.  Neuroscientists have been working to develop more objective ways to detect the changes in the brain that are associated with head trauma so as to make wise decisions about return to play. 

My alma mater, Cornell Medical School,  and the Brain Trauma Foundation reached out to me to recruit athletes and people ages 7-80, to study a new method of detecting minimal brain trauma.

Here is what they said (bold type mine):

The Brain Trauma Foundation is investigating a new method of identifying concussions and assessing attention and memory deficits caused by mild Traumatic Brain Injuries in children and adults. We are working with the Department of Defense,
The James McDonnel Foundation, and several leading medical universities to test a newly developed eye tracking device that is able to detect the possible concussions by assessing attention delay in less than 1 minute.

We are looking for children between the ages of 7-17 and adults between 18-55 years who have sustained a previous mild traumatic head injury, along with healthy individuals between the ages of 7-74 who would like to participate as our controls. We are also looking for participants who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Additional exclusion criteria include no prior neurological diagnoses, no history of substance abuse problems, no major psychiatric disorders, no gross visual or hearing problems, and no pregnant women.

Prior to enrollment, we conduct a 20-30 minute telephone screening to determine eligibility. Testing is conducted at the Citigroup Biomedical Imaging Center on the Weill-Cornell Medical College campus in NYC and usually takes about 4 hours. Our protocol is WCMC IRB-approved and includes interviews, computer tests, paper-and-pencil tests, and an l MRI scan. Participants are compensated $450 for the 4-hour testing session, and those from the control sample are free to use the data we collect as baseline testing for future mTBI’s (ie concussions).
For more detailed information go to the Brain Trauma Foundation and click on research for lots of information.  Alternatively you can email Jodi Kanter at  It feels great to be a part of something this important.  Please let me know if you participate.

1 comment:

  1. It's our duty as parents to curb becoming part of the statistics of brain injury for our children by being educated and providing them with the proper head gear protection.