NeuroTracker Tool for Concussions
«I think NeuroTracker is a genuine breakthrough here. It’s a proven science technology that trains fundamental skills with rapid gains, and the results unlock a wealth of new performance data. » Leonard Zaichkowsky, Ph.D., Director of Sports Science, Vancouver Canucks.
The NeuroTracker was developed in partnership with the Université de Montréal Visual Psychophysics and Perception laboratory headed by Dr. Jocelyn Faubert. It is a test and training method of high-level perceptual-cognitive function. It answers the question: how well does a User integrate awareness, attention and working memory in a 3D Multiple Object Tracking task?
Research has shown that concussions impair the perception of complex visual stimuli, sometimes over an extended period of time beyond the cessation of other symptoms (Brosseau-Lachaine, Gagnon, Forget & Faubert, 2008) . NeuroTracker trains specific perceptual-cognitive skills involved with 3D Multiple Object Tracking (3D MOT). Maximal stimulation is achieved by an intelligent staircase procedure that pushes an athlete just above and below their perceptual-cognitive threshold (Faubert & Sidebottom 2012) . This is crucial for elite performance, but could also be useful for assessing perceptual status by comparing training scores to current baselines – assessing functional deficits due to fatigue, concussions or other neurobiological alterations.
NeuroTracker uses a proven measurement methodology based on speed thresholds: manipulating tracking speed to find and accurately measure peak performance for multiple object tracking ability. The average of 3 consecutive Core sessions are always used for cognitive assessment as these provide statistically stable measurements compared to individual sessions.
- The first 3 sessions provide an initial baseline: a measure of pre-trained ability and a benchmark for improvement
- In the event of injury or suspected concussion, the athlete can use NeuroTracker to compare post-injury scores with pre-injury baselines to assess perceptual impairment a possible indicator for NeuroTracker uses high level mental resources and is an ideal cognitive test for assessing return to play readiness during late recovery stages from a concussion. For this a reliable normative baseline is needed to tie results accurately to the individual athlete.
Practical Applications for Concussion:
Once stable baselines have been established (3+ Core sessions) there are several advantages that NeuroTracker has as a support tool for medical professionals making return to play decisions for servicemen that have suffered a concussion
- The ability to retest the individual with a controlled and accurately measured perceptual cognitive test that can be compared directly to his own established normative As NeuroTracker is a performance-training tool for which the serviceman has recorded performance at threshold levels while at operational readiness, it offers an ideal assessment for supporting timing of return to duty. This is particularly important for medical staff, as they often have no structured reference point for return to operational duty due to dependence on following mTBI symptoms, which are typically alleviated well before return to duty is considered.
- The NT training conditions are so precise and consistent, both environmentally and functionally, that retesting provides a familiar reference for the soldier to judge his own cognitive
Using the advanced motion capture system integrated with NeuroTracker, individuals can assess their physical performance under cognitive stress – this will give a potential indication of the extent of physical performance and reaction deficits due to concussions or other neurobiological alterations.
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