Three-dimensional multiple object tracking in the pediatric population: the NeuroTracker and its promising role in the management of mild traumatic brain injury

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Abstract

As mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) affects hundreds of thousands of children and their families each year, investigation of potential mTBI assessments and treatments is an important research target. Three-dimensional multiple object tracking (3D-MOT), where an individual must allocate attention to moving objects within 3D space, is one potentially promising assessment and treatment tool. To date, no research has looked at 3D-MOT in a pediatric mTBI population. Thus, the aim of this study was to examine 3D-MOT learning in children and youth with and without mTBI. Thirty-four participants (mean age=14.69±2.46 years), with and without mTBI, underwent six visits of 3D-MOT. A two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed a significant time effect, a nonsignificant group effect, and a nonsignificant group-by-time interaction on absolute speed thresholds. In contrast, significant group and time effects and a significant group-by-time interaction on normalized speed thresholds were found. Individuals with mTBI showed smaller training gains at visit 2 than healthy controls, but the groups did not differ on the remaining visits. Although youth can significantly improve their 3D-MOT performance following mTBI, similar to noninjured individuals, they show slower speed of processing in the first few training sessions. This preliminary work suggests that using a 3D-MOT paradigm to train visual perception after mTBI may be beneficial for both stimulating recovery and informing return to activity decisions.

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