Breakthrough that offers better brain monitoring to vulnerable patients

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NEW technology to measure the field of vision in children and vulnerable people could be used to monitor brain tumours, according to researchers.

Current testing devices depend on a patient’s complete co-operation and involves staring at a fixed point for several minutes.

Machines rely on the patient pressing a button in response to moving or flashing lights and are not suitable for about 30 per cent of the population.

Now, a new device that uses the patient’s natural reactions to movement and light to analyse their visual field will allow them to move their head and will not require their feedback.

It means patients whose visual field was previously impossible to examine will have the test for the first time, the company behind it said.

Visual field testing can detect problems in central and peripheral vision which may be caused by medical conditions such as brain tumours and stroke.

The technology, known as saccadic vector optokinetic perimetry is being developed i2eye Diagnostics, a firm launched today by Edinburgh Bioquarter – an organisation bringing together medical research and investors.

Peter Estibeiro, i2eye chief executive, said: “Our instrument is a generation ahead of anything else on the market.

“One of its first applications is in the monitoring and clinical management of children with brain tumours, where it can aid the decision-making process potentially leading to a better outcome. The instrument will be on the market from the middle of 2012 and we are already seeing significant interest from leading paediatric medical centres around the world.”