What evidence exists for new strategies or technologies in the diagnosis of sports concussion and assessment of recovery?

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Abstract

Objective

The purpose of this critical review is to summarise the evidence for the following technologies/strategies related to diagnosing or managing sports-related concussion: quantitative EEG, functional neuroimaging, head impact sensors, telemedicine and mobile devices.

Data sources

MEDLINE, PubMed, Cochrane Controlled Trials Registers, SportDiscus, EMBASE, Web of Science and ProQuest databases. Primary search keywords were concussion, sports concussion and mild traumatic brain injury. The keywords used for secondary, topic specific searches were quantitative electroencephalography, qEEG, functionalMRI, magnetoencephalography, near-infrared spectroscopy, positron emission tomography, single photon emissionCT, accelerometer, impact sensor, telemetry, remote monitoring, robotic medicine, telemedicine, mobile device, mobile phone, smart phone and tablet computer.

Results

The primary search produced 8567 publications. The secondary searches produced nine publications that presented original data, included a comparison group in the study design and involved sports-related concussion. Four studies spoke to the potential of qEEG as a diagnostic or management tool, while five studies addressed the potential of fMRI to be used in the same capacity.

Conclusions

Emerging technologies and novel approaches that aid in sports concussion diagnosis and management are being introduced at a rapid rate. While some technologies show promise, their clinical utility remains to be established.

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