Oculometric Testing for Detecting/Characterizing Mild Neural Impairment

Health Medicine and Biotechnology
Oculometric Testing for Detecting/Characterizing Mild Neural Impairment (TOP2-268)
Comprehensive Oculomotor Behavioral Response Assessment (COBRA)
This novel technology is a screening tool to screen for neurological disorders or injury detecting oculomotor signatures. The tool can be used to measure/monitor the severity and nature of such symptoms. Eye movements are the most frequent, shortest-latency, and biomechanically simplest voluntary motor behavior, and thus provide a model system to assess perceptual and sensory processing disturbances arising from trauma, fatigue, aging, environmental exposures, or disease states. Scientists at NASA have developed and validated a rapid, non-invasive, eye-movement-based testing system to evaluate neural health across a range of brain regions. The technology applies a 5-minute behavioral tracking task consisting of randomized step-ramp radial target motion to capture several aspects of neural responses to dynamic visual stimuli, including pursuit initiation, steady-state tracking, direction and speed tuning, pupillary responses, and eccentric gaze holding.

The Technology
To assess various aspects of dynamic visual and visuomotor function including peripheral attention, spatial localization, perceptual motion processing, and oculomotor responsiveness, NASA developed a simple five-minute clinically relevant test that measures and computes more than a dozen largely independent eye-movement-based (oculometric) measures of human neural performance. This set of oculomotor metrics provide valid and reliable measures of dynamic visual performance and may prove to be a useful assessment tool for mild functional neural impairments across a wide range of etiologies and brain regions. The technology may be useful to clinicians to localize affected brain regions following trauma, degenerative disease, or aging, to characterize and quantify clinical deficits, to monitor recovery of function after injury, and to detect operationally-relevant altered or impaired visual performance at subclinical levels. This novel system can be used as a sensitive screening tool by comparing the oculometric measures of an individual to a normal baseline population, or from the same individual before and after exposure to a potentially harmful event (e.g., a boxing match, football game, combat tour, extended work schedule with sleep disruption, blast or toxic exposure, space mission), or on an ongoing basis to monitor performance for recovery to baseline. The technology provides set of largely independent metrics of visual and visuomotor function that are sensitive and reliable within and across observers, yielding a signature multidimensional impairment vector that can be used to characterize the nature of a mild deficit, not just simply detect it. Initial results from peer-reviewed studies of Traumatic Brain Injury, sleep deprivation with and without caffeine, and low-dose alcohol consumption have shown that this NASA technology can be used to assess subtle deficits in brain function before overt clinical symptoms become obvious, as well as the efficacy of countermeasures.
A NASA researcher using the technology COBRA summary chart.   This full set of oculometrics illustrates the wealth of data captured in 5 minutes.  The pattern of effects across metrics is different depending on the cause of the neural impairment, thus potentially supporting future diagnostic and therapeutic decisions.
  • Fast: scans take ~5 minutes
  • Portable: compact, deployable system
  • Inexpensive compared to CT/MRI or other current clinical imaging systems
  • Evaluates status of brain function, not structure, so has direct operational implications
  • Does not expose patients to radiation
  • Analysis routines are automated and compatible with disparate data collection methods
  • Customized user defined setting in software

  • Sports training and medicine
  • Military and Aerospace readiness-to-perform
  • Medicine - Hospitals (ER and Trauma Centers) - Ophthalmology clinics - Universities - Clinical research facilities
Technology Details

Health Medicine and Biotechnology
ARC-17386-1 ARC-17386-2 ARC-17386-3 ARC-17837-1
https://doi.org/10.1113/JP277779 Distinct pattern of oculomotor impairment associated with acute sleep loss and circadian misalignment - Stone - 2019 - https://journals.lww.com/optvissci/Fulltext/2017/01000/Oculometric_Assessment_of_Sensorimotor_Impairment.9.aspx The Journal of Physiology - Wiley Online Library; Oculometric Assessment of Sensorimotor Impairment Associated with TBI - Optometry and Vision Science 94(1)
Similar Results
Brain Waves
Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) Cognitive Brain Monitor
Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is an emerging hemodynamic neuroimaging brain-computer interface (BCI) technology that indirectly measures neuronal activity in the brain's cortex via neuro-vascular coupling. fNIRS works by quantifying hemoglobin-concentration changes in the brain based on optical intensity measurements, measuring the same hemodynamic changes as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). With enough probes in enough locations, fNIRS can detect these hemodynamic activations across the subject's entire head, thus allowing the determination of cognitive state through the use of pattern classification. fNIRS systems offer low-power, low-cost, highly mobile alternatives for real-time monitoring in safety-critical situations. Glenn's specific contribution to this field is the algorithms capable of removing motion artifacts (environment- or equipment-induced errors) from the device's head-worn optical sensors. In other words, Glenn's adaptive filter can determine the presence of a potential motion artifact based on a phase shift in the data measured; identify the artifact by examining the correlation between the phase shift and changes in hemoglobin concentration; and finally remove the artifact using Kalman filtering whenever changes in hemoglobin level and changes in the phase shift are not correlated. Glenn's breakthrough allows the advantages of fNIRS to be used for non-invasive real-time brain monitoring applications in motion-filled environments that could potentially save lives.
Automated Vision Test
Automated Vision Test
The Wavefront Aberrations (WA) are a collection of different sorts of optical defects, including the familiar defocus and astigmatism that are corrected by eyeglasses, but also more complex higher order aberrations such as coma, spherical aberration, and others. The WA provide a comprehensive description of the optics of the eye, and thus determine the acuity. But until recently, a practical method of computing this relationship did not exist. Our solution to this problem is to simulate the observer performing the acuity task with an eye possessing a particular set of WA. When a letter is presented, we first distort a digital image of the letter by the specified WA, and add noise to mimic the noisiness of the visual system. From previous research, we have determined the appropriate noise level to match human performance. We then attempt to match the blurred noisy image to similarly blurred candidate letter images, and select the closest match. We repeat this for many trials at many letter sizes, and thereby determine the smallest letter than can be reliably identified: the visual acuity. We have streamlined and simplified the key steps for this simulation approach so that the entire process is robust, accurate, simple and fast. Results are typically obtained in a few seconds.
Portable Medical Diagnosis Instrument
The technology utilizes four cutting-edge sensor technologies to enable minimally- or non-invasive analysis of various biological samples, including saliva, breath, and blood. The combination of technologies and sample pathways have unique advantages that collectively provides a powerful analytical capability. The four key technology components include the following: (1) the carbon nanotube (CNT) array designed for the detection of volatile molecules in exhaled breath; (2) a breath condenser surface to isolate nonvolatile breath compounds in exhaled breath; (3) the miniaturized differential mobility spectrometer (DMS) -like device for the detection of volatile and non-volatile molecules in condensed breath and saliva; and (4) the miniaturized circular disk (CD)-based centrifugal microfluidics device that can detect analytes in any liquid sample as well as perform blood cell counts. As an integrated system, the device has two ports for sample entry a mouthpiece for sampling of breath and a port for CD insertion. The breath analysis pathway consists of a CNT array followed by a condenser surface separating liquid and gas phase breath. The exhaled breath condensate is then analyzed via a DMS-like device and the separated gas breath can be analyzed by both CNT sensor array again and by DMS detectors.
Diagram showing the mounting of the transducer.
Non-invasive Intracranial Pressure Measurement
This technology and a product based on it offer new analytical capabilities for assessment of intracranial dynamics. It offers the possibility for the monitoring of transcranial expansion and related physiological phenomena in humans resulting from variations in intracranial pressure (ICP) caused by injuries to the head and/or brain pathologies. The technology uses constant frequency pulse phase-locked loop (CFPPLL) technology to measure skull expansion caused by pressure and its variations in time. This approach yields a more accurate, more robust measurement capability with improved bandwidth that allows new analytical approaches for assessing the physiology of skull expansion under pulsatile cerebral blood flow. The dynamical quantities assessable with the CFPPLL include skull volume expansion and total fluid. Such an instrument can serve to measure intracranial dynamics with equation based algorithms, and offers a path to measure or determine quasistatic intracranial pressure, along with the pulsatile related intracranial pressure increments. Supportive measurements, such as time dependence of arterial pressure waveforms together with time dependent phase change of transcranial expansions can serve as the basis of noninvasive techniques to measure intracranial pressure.
NASA Helios Solar Powered Aircraft
Flexible Body Control Using Fiber Optic Sensors (FlexFOS)
Aerospace vehicles experience flexible dynamics that have adverse effects on guidance, navigation, and control. Vehicles that include automated control are further affected by flexible modes and structural vibrations. Flexible dynamics become even more critical as demand for larger and more fuel efficient vehicles increases. Using fiber optic technology to collect both flexible and rigid body information enables increased knowledge (data) of the state of a vehicle, a more robust collection method against weather conditions, and a more cost-effective measurement method. This technology could potentially be applied to aerospace vehicles as well as commercial space structures, commercial aerospace structures, cranes, buildings, or bridges - anything with a large cross sectional ratio. The RSS is the key to developing a sensor which provides flexible body kinematics. A reference structure must be chosen that minimizes weight impacts while retaining structural integrity. The reference structure material must also be very predictable and repeatable. Once this geometry has been optimized, analyzed, and mapped it is integrated with strain sensors making it a Reference Strain Structure. The RSS must then be integrated into an adaptive structure, which both protects and provides a connection to the desired structure to be measured. The RSS combined with the properly designed algorithms provides the capability and portability to be installed on any of the aforementioned structures alleviating unique engineering and calibration required for each structure or vehicle. It also provides the capability to employ actuators to counteract the effects of structural vibrations. FlexFOS provides a simple, portable solution adaptable to any structure.
Stay up to date, follow NASA's Technology Transfer Program on:
facebook twitter linkedin youtube
Facebook Logo Twitter Logo Linkedin Logo Youtube Logo