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Don't knock it: new smartphone app can help detect concussions

Sometimes people think of concussions as the result of dramatic, violent events such as smashing an opponent helmet-to-helmet on "Monday Night Football," being beaten in a robbery and similar extraordinary incidents. While concussions can and do occur in those circumstances, people also sustain them in less dramatic events such as a car accident, a slip or a fall, workplace mishaps, collisions in school sporting activities and other routine incidents.

Now a team of concussion experts has developed a smartphone app to help determine whether someone has sustained a concussion. Sound like another silly app? It's not. A concussion is serious business; it's a brain injury that should be treated immediately by health care professionals.

The new phone application requires users to answer a series of questions developed from information on concussions by the Centers for Disease Control. The responses to the questions help determine if the person should seek medical attention for a possible concussion.

Developers of the application hope to help shorten the amount of time between a jarring incident that causes a concussion and the onset of treatment.

Concussions are considered traumatic brain injuries that result in a variety of responses, including a bad headache to unconsciousness.

It can affect memory, speech, judgment, balance, sleep and more.

Symptoms can include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Unconsciousness
  • Altered level of consciousness; drowsiness, difficulty waking, etc.
  • Loss of memory regarding before or after the injury
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions/seizures
  • Muscle weakness on one or both sides of the body

If you suspect you or someone you know has sustained a concussion, please seek immediate medical attention.

Source: Associated Press: "App for mobile phones helps diagnose concussions" by Joedy McCready: June 2, 2011

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