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New app may soon be able to diagnose TBIs

Whether people suffer a head trauma from a fall, car crash or other accident, immediately seeking medical attention is essential to prevent more serious damage from developing. However, many do not bother to go to the hospital because a headache is to be expected after a blow, and they do not notice any other symptoms of a concussion or more severe traumatic brain injury. If there is bleeding or swelling within the skull, though, what starts as a headache could result in permanent brain damage.  

A smartphone app in the development stages may someday be able to tell people whether a head trauma is actually a brain injury. While this tool, called PupilScreen, is not expected to replace medical attention, scientists want the application to use the video and flash functions on the camera to analyze light responses in the pupil. Currently, it can detect severe TBI but requires a user to look at the app through a specially designed box to ensure proper placement and light as the scanner assesses the pupil response.

This type of medical device is known as a pupilometer, and although not new, it is rarely available outside of hospitals, where it is used by trained professionals. Once PupilScreen is ready for launch, researchers believe anyone with a smartphone should be able to detect a sub normal pupil response and know right away if medical attention is needed.

Until this technology is available to the public, brain injuries may continue to go undetected in the days and weeks after an accident. A delay may make it more difficult to seek compensation when another is at fault, but many people turn to an attorney when seeking to hold the responsible parties liable for the injury.

Source: Engadget, "Smartphones could someday assess brain injuries," Mallory Locklear, Sept. 6, 2017

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