Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In
Ampronix
Fluke Biomedical
Schiller

Tablet App Helps Monitor Neuromuscular Deficits

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 05 Mar 2013
Image: The NeuroAssess app in use on a tablet device (Photo courtesy of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering).
Image: The NeuroAssess app in use on a tablet device (Photo courtesy of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering).
A novel computer tablet application can rapidly and quantitatively assess neuromuscular performance for monitoring concussions, aging, and neurological function.

The new application, dubbed NeuroAssess, was developed by researchers at Harvard University (Harvard, Boston, MA, USA) and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC, Boston, MA, USA). The app tracks hand-eye coordination by patients that use a stylus to follow a moving target around a circle. As the person performs the tracing task, proprietary computer algorithms measure deviations from the circular path. When analyzed as a function of age, sex, and handedness, the app algorithm can generate a number, or score, that shows differences in performance between various individuals or conditions.

Whereas current methods to assess neuromuscular function include subjective descriptions of a patient's reflexes and cognitive status, the tracing tool could add a slew of new information. For example, doctors can record a score for complexity, which relates to how well a person can adapt to changes, or motion fluidity, which relates to how long the patient pauses during the task. A study that used the app to collect baseline data from 150 healthy people from the Boston (MA, USA) area, aged 21 to 95, revealed, for example, that older subjects have lower complexity and motion fluidity scores.

The next goal of the researchers is to determine the potential of the device to become a quantitative assessment tool for groups of people with neuromuscular pathologies, such as those who suffered concussions or have multiple sclerosis. A study with athletes in the Boston area is already being conducted to determine the sensitivity of the technology in diagnosing concussions. The study was published ahead of print on February 5, 2013, in the Journal of Gerontology: Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

“This new tool may hold great potential to augment existing protocols in a doctor's neuromotor assessment toolbox. It is portable, repeatable, quick to administer, and easy to perform,” said study lead author senior staff engineer Leia Stirling, PhD, of the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. “One day it might sit next to the thermometer and pressure cuff in the doctor's office. Just as your blood pressure is recorded during every visit, so could your neuromuscular score be tracked over time to determine progress through recovery and rehabilitation.”


Related Links:
Harvard University
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Cincinnati Sub-Zero
ACEM
ECR

Channels

Surgical Techniques

view channel

Rising Trend for Surgical Treatment of Chronic Constipation

A new study reveals that colectomy rates for chronic constipation are increasing exponentially and causing considerable morbidity with little evidence for long-term benefit. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC; PA, USA) conducted a study to examine changing patterns in the use of colectomy... Read more

Women's Health

view channel

Aspirin Reduces Breast Cancer Recurrence in Overweight Women

The recurrence of hormone-related breast cancer was reduced by more than half in overweight and obese women who regularly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Texas (UT; Austin, USA) conducted a retrospective review of data from 440 women with... Read more

Business

view channel
Image: The Lift Labs tremor-cancelling spoon (Photo courtesy of Lift Labs).

Google Buys Hi-Tech Spoon Maker

Google (Mountain View, CA, USA) has bought Lift Labs (San Francisco, CA, USA), the maker of a tremor-cancelling spoon aimed at improving the lives of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease (PD) and... Read more
 
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.