Weight Head Impact Exposure Metric

A novel system and method to predict when repetitive head impacts, such as those caused by playing contact sports, are accumulating to a harmful level.

 

Problem Solved by the Technology
Concussions are a frequent occurrence among athletes involved in contact sports such as football, ice hockey, soccer, and lacrosse (1.6-3.8 million/year). Sub-concussive repetitive head impacts (RHI) are even more common. It is believed that RHI cause structural alterations in the neuronal axon and microenvironment in the brain's white matter. In the short-term, RHI increase the risk for neurocognitive symptoms such as memory and planning deficits, poor verbal and visual memory,  impaired conceptual thinking, reaction time, and concentration. In the long-term, RHI may increase the risk for developing neurodegenerative diseases such as AD, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and early-onset dementia. There are commercially available sensors that can reliably detect and record the number and magnitude of RHI. This information is used to monitor the severity of head impacts. Currently this information is not used to limit an athlete's lifetime exposure to RHI due to the lack of knowledge of "how many hits are too many". Hence, the missing feature in these sensor systems is the mathematical relationship between the exposure to head impacts (number and magnitude) and the health outcome.

 

Applications
With the development of these mathematical algorithms by researchers at the University of Rochester, such a system is now possible. These algorithms use accelerometer-based inputs of physical force and align them with neuroimaging data based on research which has shown to correlate between these inputs and white matter changes (see reference below). Consequently, the algorithm is able to predict the risk for white matter changes without a brain scan. The algorithms could potentially be integrated into any existing accelerometer to alert players/coaches/parents when an athlete is approaching a cumulative head impact threshold known to injure the brain.
This is a unique product that can be integrated into many commercially available sensor systems. The ability to forecast one's risk of brain injury before it happens is invaluable for players, their parents, coaches and others.

URV Reference Number: 6-15004
Patent Information:
Category(s):
Diagnostic
For Information, Contact:
Matan Rapoport
Licensing Associate
University of Rochester
585.276.6600
matan.rapoport@rochester.edu
Inventors:
Kian Merchant-Borna
Jeffrey Bazarian
Keywords: