Tag Archives: software

Free Concussion Tracker App Now Available to Help People With Concussion Monitor Symptoms

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center will begin testing whether a new free mobile app for iPhone and Apple Watch can help those with concussions better track their symptoms during the critical six weeks following their diagnosis. Participants will complete three daily tasks: a five-question survey that captures symptoms, including balance issues, blurred vision, and drowsiness; a six-minute walk test; and tasks to measure concentration. The NYU Langone Concussion Tracker app is now available in Apple’s App Store.app

While the app is not intended to diagnose or treat disease, the larger goal of such surveillance is to catch cases where the initial injury caused a persistent problem that must be addressed. With availability throughout the U.S., researchers hope the app will provide a more in-depth, daily picture of concussion nationwide.

The study uses the new ResearchKit software framework designed by Apple to make it easier for researchers to gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using iPhone, as well as for individuals to take part in studies by using their mobile devices. ResearchKit enables participants to easily complete tasks or submit surveys right from the app and delivers a simple way to present participants with an interactive informed consent process. Created by clinicians and IT experts at NYU Langone, the app offers a new way to engage patients in studies that use digital tools to shape clinical care.

“Concussion is experienced by more than four million Americans each year,” said Laura Balcer, MD, co-director of NYU Langone’s Concussion Center, and co-principal investigator (PI) of the study. “Using new technologies, we can now evaluate a potentially large percentage of this population across the country to gain daily insights about concussion, and employ data in ways we previously could not.” Dr. Balcer is also a professor of neurology, ophthalmology, and population health. “For instance, this data could enable us to understand daily symptom profiles for patients for the first time.”

The NYU Langone Concussion Tracker app will be used to track patient-reported symptoms during the six-week recovery period. Initial treatment usually includes rest, but experts want better, research-based measures of how much rest or activity is needed, or why some patients recover faster.

“By tracking these measurements among concussion patients on a daily basis, instead of every one to two weeks at their appointments, this app and the related research project will let us assess current treatment protocols in ways not before possible, including greater understanding of how a patients concussion symptoms improve over the course of their recovery,” said Paul Testa, MD, chief medical information officer at NYU Langone who is also a study investigator.

All study participant information will automatically be de-identified and stored in a secure database, where it will be reviewed for research purposes only.

Also part of this study, a separate group of 100 volunteers over the age of 18 will be recruited by NYU Langone’s Concussion Center to come in for six weeks and complete the questionnaire and tasks in person using the app in the presence of a research coordinator. This data will be stored in NYU Langone’s patient electronic health record (EHR)system, allowing patients to view their results in their MyChart account. Participants who do not have an iPhone and Apple Watch will receive a borrowed set that is returned at the completion of the study. This part of the study will be led by Dennis A. Cardone, DO, co- PI, and associate professor of orthopaedic surgery.

This study was approved by NYU Langone’s research Institutional Review Board and is funded by NYU Langone.

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Province-Funded Website Provides Tools on Brain Injuries for Parents, Coaches, and Players

Parents and coaches can now access the latest evidence-based information on concussion diagnosis and care thanks to a new, free online resource: the Concussion Awareness Training Tool (CATT) for Parents, Players, and Coaches.

Based on the latest research and best-practice recommendations, this toolkit was developed by researchers with the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at the Child & Family Research Institute (CFRI) at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Website resources include:

  • A brief training course on how to identify and respond effectively to concussions, manage the long-term impacts, and take steps to make sports safer for young athletes.
  • Smartphone-accessible forms and tools to help parents and coaches track symptoms, decide how to respond to an injury, and record information for medical professionals.
  • Short, five-minute videos for children and teens with stories of young athletes who have had concussions and advice about safe play in contact sports like hockey, football and rugby.

A concussion is a brain injury that can be caused by a direct blow to the head or indirect hit to another part of the body. The impact of these hits causes the brain to suddenly shift or shake inside the skull, damaging nerve fibers and leaving brain cells vulnerable to further injury.

Compared to adults, children are more vulnerable to concussions because their brains are still developing, their heads are bigger relative to their body size, and their necks are weaker. Concussions can be painful and debilitating and can include symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and confusion. Symptoms may appear immediately or may not appear for hours or days. Serious complications can include brain damage, disability and death.

Parents and coaches who are educated about how to recognize and treat concussions are better equipped to seek medical attention for children when necessary and to participate actively in their care.  When properly recognized and treated, the majority of concussions resolve within 7-10 days. Giving children time to heal through both mental and physical rest can help to speed their recovery and prevent second-impact syndrome, a condition that occurs if a person suffers a second concussions before symptoms from the first have subsided. Second-impact syndrome is extremely dangerous and almost always results permanent, disabling brain injury or death.

Quick Facts:

  • According to the most recent B.C. statistics, $2.4 million was spent in one year on hospitalization for concussions and more than 6,500 concussions were seen in a year in Lower Mainland Emergency Departments.
  • CATT for Parents, Players, and Coaches is based on the latest research on how to recognize and manage concussions and is updated on a monthly basis.
  • The research team is promoting the website toolkit to provincial and national committees and organizations involved in injury prevention or concussion prevention. They’ve also reached out to minor sports associations, and they’ve put up promotional posters and stickers at arenas, libraries, and community centres across the Lower Mainland.
  •  CATT for Parents, Players, and Coaches was funded by the BC Ministry of Health.
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Hockey Canada Launches Free Concussion Awareness Application

The NHL may be stalled in Canada, but not the sport.

That was evident late this week when Hockey Canada launched free concussion awareness apps for smartphones and tablets.

The Hockey Canada Concussion Awareness apps, which are endorsed by Team Canada alumnus Sidney Crosby, are available in both English and French, with versions for adults and kids. The apps include “a variety of resources and information on concussions, focusing on prevention, respect, rules, symptoms and return to play protocol. All these apps are available for Blackberry, iOS and Android devices and can be downloaded free on several websites and platforms including www.HockeyCanada.ca, Blackberry’s App World, iTunes and Google Play Store.”

“This app has a variety of very useful information on concussions for parents, players, officials and volunteers,” said Hockey Canada president and CEO Bob Nicholson. “Download this app to your phone or tablet today, and you will have concussion information on prevention, rules, symptoms and ‘return to play’ protocol at your fingertips.”

Crosby added: “I feel very fortunate that hockey has been part of my life since I was very young and admire Hockey Canada’s commitment to educating families and players about all aspects of the game. It is important to always give your best effort and yet always be respectful of everyone on the ice. Be smart, stay safe and have fun.”

One version of the Hockey Canada concussion awareness app was developed for kids, “and is a great tool to teach children how to prevent concussions through respect and playing by the rules,” according to the association. “The app also puts important concussion information into easy to follow information for young players. It also contains an interactive game that features Hockey Canada’s mascot, Puckster.

“This Hockey Canada initiative is part of a national project bringing together Hockey Canada, ThinkFirst Pensez d’Abord Canada (TFC), a program of Parachute, leaders in injury prevention, the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Sport (CCES) and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). The project is aimed at reducing brain injuries in team sports in Canada and is funded in part by the federal government through its Active and Safe Initiative.”

For more information on Hockey Canada, its programs and concussion awareness, visit www.hockeycanada.ca/apps

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