This week, the FDA has sanctioned two computerized tests that may be able to help. The ImPACT tests are the first medical devices to be approved by the FDA intended to assess patients’ cognitive function following a possible concussion. Developed by Pittsburgh-based company ImPACT Applications, the neurocognitive tests calculate an individual’s scores on a series of tasks to determine verbal and visual memory, processing speed and reaction time.
The tests aren’t meant to definitively diagnose concussion though. Rather, the FDA says they are “intended as part of the medical evaluation that doctors perform to assess signs and symptoms of a head injury.”
Currently, there’s no easy test to diagnose a concussion. Instead, doctors rely on the observation or self-reporting of patients’ symptoms, as well as physical exams consisting of strength, sensation, reflex and coordination tests.