NuroChek General FAQs
NuroChek is an Australian innovation and a world-first brain assessment device
For schools, the NuroChek forms part of the HEADSAFE program where detailed information can be found on head injury prevention, assessment and management, with a number of downloadable informational resources including the HeadSafe Blue Card, HeadSafe Medical Clearance, videos, leaflets, handouts and posters from all major sporting codes.
The Nurochek device comprises a customised, wearable headset that emits a visual stimulus (as light flashes of specific design, pattern, duration and frequency) from a visor at the front of the headset which are received by the eyes of the person being tested. This creates electrical signals in neurons, which are conveyed to the visual cortex in the occipital area at the back of the brain. These are called Visual Evoked Potentials (VEPs).
Nurochek simplifies the recording of VEPs, and research indicates these change in concussion.
At the elite level of major sports, NuroChek will become a vital part of the Head Injury Assessment (HIA), in helping team medical staff decide if a player needs to leave the field or can return to the same game.
During recovery, and prior to playing again, the NuroChek will assist medical staff to ascertain that the player is back to pre-injury (“baseline”) brain activity, and can therefore help the doctor use this objective information in their Return to Play decision.
The revolutionary technology of NuroChek is designed to take the uncertainty, and controversy, out of concussion. Whilst critical for elite sports, it’s also important for school and community sports.
Players can be tested after injury and in return-to-play scenarios, or weekly as a “fit for play” test: not all concussions are witnessed and recognised. Whether they occur at training, in a game, off-field, at home or in the school playground, or if multiple smaller (sub-concussive) impacts cause a change in brain function, NuroChek can help identify the change.
The decision to return to work, school, sport and other activities should be made by your healthcare professional, and this can be assisted by using the objective information from the NuroChek alongside evaluation of any signs and symptoms of concussion.
Individual sports have their own concussion policies and return guidelines.
An EEG (or Electroencephalogram) is a method of detecting the electrical activity of your brain. Small electrodes are positioned over your scalp and moistened with normal saline (salt water, as in contact lens solution). No hair needs to be shaved or sticky conductive gel applied. The electrodes detect tiny electrical charges that result from the activity of your brain cells. NuroChek uses five electrodes over the back of your scalp (corresponding to where visual processing occurs).
After an impact, our current understanding is that there is short-lived decrease in blood flow to the brain, resulting in damage at an individual cell (neurone) level.
Research shows that the brain’s electrical activity (or EEG) actually changes in concussion because of this cell-level damage, and returns to the pre-concussion baseline alongside clinical recovery.
NuroChek assess this electrical activity
You do not need to be a doctor to use the NuroChek. Applying a formal diagnosis of concussion varies for individual clubs, schools and sports policies and healthcare professionals should be involved.
Across the globe, impact sports abound………….sometimes it’s part of the game, sometimes it’s an (accidental) by-product.
In Australia, rugby league, union, AFL, soccer as well as other sports will benefit from the reliable, accurate and objective assessment provided by the NuroChek.
In the US, American Football predominates, but soccer, rugby, lacrosse and dozens of other sports have head-injury risks.
Statistically, equestrian pursuits as well as speed and snow sports have their own share of thrills……and spills!
Globally there are over 10 million concussions every year, 5 million of these in children and adolescents with a cost estimated at around $60 billion annually.
The diagnosis of concussion is shrouded in subjectivity, opinion and confusing jargon. The most popular current concussion test, called SCAT (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool) is actually an amalgam of tests of memory, subjective symptoms, balance and coordination.
It takes 25-30 minutes, needs a doctor to administer, can only be completed on paper, and is recognised as having significant limitations.
This confusion leads to unwanted consequences for players, their families and clubs, and to unwanted headlines for the governing sports bodies.
Having an objective measure of the brain’s electrical activity is of value to clinicians in assessing injury to the brain such as occurs in concussion.