Veteranclaims’s Blog

September 16, 2010

Navy Evaluating New ImPACT Diagnosis Testing for TBI

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 4:56 pm

Full Article at: Researchers: Navy SEALS’ new brain injury test has high false-positive rate

By Bob Brewin 09/15/2010

Detecting if a soldier has a concussion caused by roadside bombs has been one the toughest tests clinicians face in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the elite Navy SEALs fighting force believes it has found a better way to screen for brain injuries.

In May 2008, the Defense Department mandated the military services use an application called the Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics tool as the standard way to assess the extent of brain injuries. But in August, the Naval Special Warfare Group signed a contract with ImPACT Applications Inc. of Pittsburgh to use the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing test. The group said preliminary results indicate the new test improves diagnosis and treatment.

But some university researchers reported the ImPACT test has the highest rate of false positives — indicating a brain injury when there is none — of the three tools physicians use in sports medicine, a field that has a long history in diagnosing and treating concussions. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center is evaluating ImPACT for use throughout all three services.

The Naval Special Warfare Group, which includes the SEALS and combat craft crew headquartered in Coronado, Calif., still uses the older Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics test, but it is analyzing the ImPACT test to see if it can augment the older tool, said Lt. Catherine Wallace, a spokeswoman for the Naval Special Warfare Group.

The ImPACT test, unlike its predecessor, can be taken online, even in the remote and hazardous areas where the roughly 2,000 SEALS and combat crew operate. “ImPACT is designed specifically for the detection of concussions; does not require a trained neurologist or psychologist; and because it is Internet-based, can produce nearly instantaneous pre- and post-[traumatic brain injury] comparison results,” Wallace said. “We can quickly assess if an operator has suffered a head injury that requires him to be removed from the fight temporarily, or sent to a medical facility for further testing.”

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