Eye tracking detects high pressure inside the skull

Contact: Christine Hill 612.873.5719

Doctors Can Detect Pressure Increases Inside the Skull By Tracking Eye Movements During Watching of Music Videos

Dr. Uzma Samadani

Eye movement tracking while watching a music video for 220 seconds can reveal whether there is increased pressure inside the skull.  The technology works by measuring the function of the nerves that rotate the eyeball.  “Doctors have known for more than 3000 years that high pressure inside the skull impairs the function of these delicate nerves, and that the first to be affected is usually the nerve that rotates the eye laterally” said neurosurgeon Dr. Uzma Samadani, the lead study investigator.

Participants in the National Space and Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) funded study were 23 patients in the neurosurgical intensive care unit who were awake but had brain problems such as bleeding, trauma, stroke or tumors requiring intracranial pressure monitoring with a drainage catheter.  On 55 occasions the patients watched music videos and Disney film clips while an eye tracking camera measured vertical and horizontal eye movements for 220 seconds.   There was a correlation between increased intracranial pressure and decreased function

DSC_8959 (1)
During a recent visit NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD (who received his medical training at HCMC), was given a demonstration of the eye-tracking technology.

 of the nerves moving the eye as detected with eye tracking.  Decreased lateral eye movements showed the strongest correlation with elevated intracranial pressure, consistent with what has long been known about nerve function.  Individual patients had normal tracking at lower pressures and decreased eye movement at higher pressures regardless of whether the high or low pressure occurred first.

Dr. Samadani, who is the Rockswold Kaplan Endowed Chair for Brain Injury Research at Hennepin County Medical Center as well as an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, noted that concussion and elevated intracranial pressure impact many of the same eye tracking metrics, suggesting that similar pathways may be impaired.

Study results were presented at a joint NASA/NSBRI research group meeting and are now published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.  The company Oculogica Inc has licensed exclusive world-wide rights for commercialization of the technology, for which a patent was issued earlier this month.

NSBRI funded the eye tracking research as a grant to the company Oculogica Inc through the SMARTCAP program which supports commercialization of technologies that will have utility both in space and on earth.  Eye tracking for detection of elevated intracranial pressure could potentially benefit 7 million Americans with hydrocephalus as well as have utility for concussion and other types of brain injury.  One potential indication for eye tracking would be identification of concussed subjects at high risk for second impact syndrome, which is thought to occur after, and further contribute to high intracranial pressure, which can be fatal.

NSBRI has a program investigating technologies for non-invasive monitoring of intracranial pressure which can potentially be elevated during space travel.  Astronauts who experience reduced gravity for prolonged periods of time are at risk for developing headaches and visual problems.  It is thought that without gravity, there is increased pooling of blood in the brain and elevated pressures inside the skull and eye structures.  This risk for elevated intracranial pressure impacts NASA’s plan for prolonged space travel.  Untreated elevated intracranial pressure can lead to cognitive difficulty and vision problems including blindness.  On earth, doctors currently drill holes into the skull to place monitors to measure this pressure in patients with trauma, bleeding in the brain, or certain tumors.  In space, such a measurement is not feasible, necessitating non-invasive measurement.

Dr. Samadani is a founder of the company Oculogica Inc., which is currently applying for FDA clearance for the eye tracking technology, called EyeBox.  She disclosed that she, New York University, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Hennepin County Medical Center all had equity interests in the company.

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD to discuss safety in space, applications on Earth

16101545838_76bedf4c47_zNASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD is returning to Minnesota to discuss safety in space and applications on Earth at the 15th Annual Preparedness Practicum on Wednesday, February 22, 2017. Dr. Lindgren completed his medical training at Hennepin County Medical Center and was a member of NASA’s Expedition 44/45, serving as flight engineer aboard the International Space Station from July-December 2015.

Who: NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD
What: Astronaut gives presentation on safety in space and its applications on Earth at 15th Annual Preparedness Practicum
Where: Earle Brown Heritage Center, 6155 Earle Brown Drive, Brooklyn Center, MN
When: Wednesday, February 22; presentation begins at 11 AM

Photography is not allowed during presentation. Photos and interview opportunities with Dr. Lindgren are available immediately following his presentation.

The Annual Preparedness Practicum is presented by the Metro Health & Medical Preparedness Coalition is conducted to enhance and improve the preparedness of Minnesota hospitals and healthcare facilities by providing education from lessons learned to providers and other members of the preparedness team. The educational experience includes review of didactic information relevant to the planning and care practices of all involved in preparedness planning.


NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD to visit patients, colleagues at HCMC

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD returned from his mission to the International Space Station in December, and now he’s returning to Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) for a visit – the Level I Trauma Center where he completed his emergency medicine residency. The NASA astronaut will meet with patients and staff on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Dr. Lindgren is a member of Expedition 44/45 and served as flight engineer aboard the International Space Station from July-December 2015. He has many colleagues and fans at HCMC who felt immense pride at seeing their colleague and friend fulfill his dreams of space travel – many who watched the launch live at the hospital on NASA TV on July 22, 2015.

“It was truly amazing,” says Dr. Douglas Brunette, who supervised Dr. Lindgren’s medical training in the Emergency Department where Dr. Lindgren was also Chief Resident. “Words can’t even describe how exciting it was to watch the launch, and then to follow Kjell’s experience while he worked on the Space Station. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

Dr. Brunette was invited by Dr. Lindgren to be his guest to watch the launch from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, and he chronicled the trip on hcmcnews.org.

“We are all eagerly anticipating his return ‘home’ to HCMC to tour his old stomping grounds and reconnect with friends,” Dr. Brunette explains. “Obviously we may think Minnesota is not as interesting as some of the other places he’s visited, but he’s so literally down-to-earth and appreciative of his training here at HCMC that he would probably disagree. We’re very proud of Kjell and look forward to the opportunity to see him again and learn about his experiences.”

He has a full schedule when he returns to Minnesota, but Dr. Lindgren will be available for photo opportunities and questions on Wednesday, May 25 from 2-3:30 PM while he visits areas in HCMC. Please contact Christine Hill, Sr. Media Relations Specialist at 612.873.5719 for more information.

HCMC receives message from space

Source: NASA

Today Dr. Kjell Lindgren, the astronaut who received his medical training at HCMC, took a photo of Minneapolis from the International Space Station and sent a hello to his friends and colleagues @hennepinmedical!

For more information about Dr. Lindgren what he and his colleagues are doing aboard the International Space Station, go to www.nasa.gov.

Summary of Expedition 45
Follow Dr. Kjell Lindgren to the International Space Station
HCMC-trained astronaut MD Kjell Lindgren launches to International Space Station 

Follow Dr. Kjell Lindgren to the International Space Center

Listen to Healthy Matters on WCCO Radio Sunday, August 2 at 7:30 AM when Dr. Brunette discusses his trip to Kazakhstan. 

Dr. Douglas Brunette was invited by his former student, astronaut Dr. Kjell Lindgren, to watch his launch to the International Space Center from the Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Wednesday, July 22. Here are some of the daily posts Dr. Brunette is sending from his trip.

We watched the docking with the ISS live, followed by the hatch opening. It was great. Kristi (Kjells wife) and their kids had a live video conversation that was great to witness.

6:03 PM  Launch was absolutely beautiful.

Not a cloud in the sky. The ISS passed directly overhead, and 30 seconds later the rocket lit up to go and chase it. Deafening sound, lit up the pitch black sky, physically rattled your chest.

launch 7/22
launch 7/22

We were able to track it all the way to loss of second stage rockets, which meant they were in space. Then we toasted Russian vodka…

We leave for Mission Control in a couple of hours to watch the docking with the ISS and then the hatch opening to greet Kjell aboard the ISS.

Per Kjells recommendation, I did not photo the launch. He told me to sit back and enjoy it, which is what I did. It will be available on NASA.gov.

Launch was textbook with the exception of one solar array that did not deploy, which is a minor issue that can be dealt with after they dock.

Dr. Matt Herold, Dr. Douglas Brunette
Dr. Matt Herold, Dr. Douglas Brunette

Matt Herold is the person in the photo with me, an HCMC classmate of Kjell.

Dr. Lindgren saying goodbye to his children.
Dr. Lindgren saying goodbye to his children.

10:46 AM I have so much to write, but very little time. Attached are photos of the crew getting onto the bus that will be taking them to the launch site.

One of these photos is Kjell from inside the bus making his hands into a heart for his children, telling them he loves them.

One tradition is for each astronaut to plant a tree. There is impressive walkway of trees dating back to the first person in space, Yuri Gagarin. Kjells tree is obviously small and has a lot of growing to do!

7:46 AM Update since my recent last post. Typical Kjell…just hours from being hurled into space he sends me a very personal email the content of which I will mostly keep to myself.

However, he specifically stated he is extremely grateful for the support and interest that HCMC has demonstrated during these last few months, and considers himself humbled and privileged to have trained at HCMC, and thanks everyone for their support.

7:29 AM
Just a few hours left until launch!

It has been a clear, no clouds in the sky day, which should make for a beautiful launch. We will wave to Kjell when he exits the Cosmonaut Hotel, which is next to our hotel within the Cosmonaut Space Center.  We drive to Building 254 which is near the launch site (I think that’s the number), and again wave to Kjell when he exits wearing his full spacesuit en route to the launch pad.

At around midnight we apparently will be having a feast of a dinner meal before the 3am launch. Kjell will be spending close to 3 hours on his back in a fetal position, wearing his spacesuit, going through a very long pre-launch checklist.

We will be outside to watch the launch, approximately 0.7 miles from the launch pad. NASA shuttle launch viewing was from 3 miles, so this should be quite a show!

Post launch I think I will have some time to email photos before we go to Mission Control for watching the docking to the ISS and hatch opening.

Hope all is well. I have decided I would rather live on the frozen tundra (Minnesota) than the searing desert plains…

Low key day today. Toured space museum, lots of interesting fun facts, but hard to understand many exhibits as they were in Russian.

International press conference held tonight. There were several hundred reporters present. Astronauts behind glass in quarantine.

I am not sure when I will get to email you again. We leave for launch site tomorrow at 8pm our time (9am your time). Launch is at 3:00am our time (4 pm your time). After launch, we drive to Mission Control to watch the docking to the International Space Station at approximately 9am our time (10pm your time). We stay at Mission Control to watch the hatch opening and the astronauts board the International Space Station at approximately 10:30am(11:30pm your time).  Kjell will be able to communicate with us at Mission Control when he boards the ISS.  We then pack and go to the airport to travel back to Moscow.

So internet access will be a problem for me tomorrow. If I cant send anything, I will report in the day after the launch.

Dr. Lindgren, Oleg Kononenko, and Kimiya Yui

Great and fascinating day. Got up early to see the rocket roll out of the hangar. It was placed horizontally onto a train, and moved about 0.5 miles to the launch site. We were 10 yards away from the railroad tracks when it passed. Unbelievable sight.

Went to the launch site, and it was raised vertically into blast off position, where  we stood just a few yards away.

Then had a private meeting with Kjell. Just his family (mom, dad, sister, his kids, and Matt and myself) . Kjell was behind glass partition re: quarantine. We met with him for an hour. It was funny at times, very emotional at times for all in the room. It was a wonderful hour.

Low key day tomorrow. Visiting the Cosmonaut Museum, attending press conference.

The launch is 3 am Kazakhstan time on July 23rd, and we are 11 hours ahead of you. So launch for you will be 4 pm Wednesday, July 22nd.

We will be up for 30 straight hours or so on launch day. More on that later.

Day 3. Long day. Left hotel at 5am to airport for three hour flight into Baikonur, Kazakhstan. It is about 100F today. It is a desert, at least the part of the country that we are in. We are staying at the Sputik Hotel.

Kristi Lindgren and Kjell’s parents are going to see Kjell tonight. They will get to see him one more time about 5 hours before launch. None of the rest of us are allowed to see him.

We get up again early tomorrow, I think around 5am to go watch the rocket rollout of the hanger and head to the launch pad.

The airplane we flew in and a view of the terrain right before we landed:

We went to Star City today, which is where the astronauts and cosmonauts train. Fascinating. We also ate ISS freeze dried food – not so good…

We skyped with Kjell today — he is ready to go. We leave on 3-hour flight tomorrow morning to Kazakhstan.

Attached are some photos of the capsule that Kjell will be sitting on his back in during launch. Quite small a space. This is the training capsule, just like the real deal.

Arrived yesterday morning in Moscow after overnight flight.

St. Basil Basilica

Took a tour with our NASA astronaut guides of Red Square (see photo of St. Basil Basilica, built by Ivan the Terrible).

Went to dinner last night with Kjell’s parents and sister, and communicated with Kjell via email from the dinner table.

Kjell is in quarantine, so he does not get ill before launch. Everything is still a go. Kjell puts on his spacesuit today and climbs aboard the rocket capsule to get another feel of it.

We are traveling to Star City, Russia, about one hour outside of Moscow today. It is where NASA astronauts train in Russia.

Tomorrow we have an early chartered NASA flight, 3 hours, to Baikonur, Kazakhstan where the launch will take place at 3am local time on July 23rd.

HCMC-trained MD Astronaut Kjell Lindgren launches to International Space Station next week

official Expedition 44 crew portrait. Soyuz 42 (Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Scott Kelly) and Soyuz 43 (Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren).
Official Expedition 44 crew portrait. Soyuz 42 (Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko, Scott Kelly) and Soyuz 43 (Oleg Kononenko, Kimiya Yui and Kjell Lindgren).

Excitement is building at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) as they count down the days to NASA’s Expedition 44/45 launch on Wednesday, July 22. The Soyuz spacecraft will carry a crew to the International Space Station that includes astronaut Kjell Lindgren, MD who completed his medical residency in HCMC’s Emergency Department where he was also Chief Resident.

Dr. Lindgren (far left)  and crew.
Dr. Lindgren (far left) and crew.

Dr. Lindgren will serve as flight engineer for this mission, which was originally scheduled to launch on May 25, but was delayed after an unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft failed to reach the International Space Station (ISS) on April 30. An investigation into the malfunction had to take place before Expedition 44/45’s launch could be rescheduled.

Dr. Doug Brunette
Dr. Doug Brunette

“Of course we were concerned about Kjell’s mission after hearing about the Progress 59P problem,” explains Dr. Douglas Brunette, referring to the cargo spacecraft that eventually burned up after re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. “But it’s better to be safe and wait until the cause of the problem was figured out, and we had every confidence that the launch would be rescheduled.”

Dr. Brunette supervised Dr. Lindgren’s medical training in the Emergency Department, and he was invited by Dr. Lindgren to be his guest in Kazakhstan to watch the launch from the Cosmodrome.

“I feel so honored that Kjell asked me to be there. Of course it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, but to see my former resident – whom I now consider a friend and colleague – fulfill his dreams of being an astronaut, it’s just so exciting,” said Dr. Brunette, who leaves for Kazakhstan on July 16.

Hospital employees are counting down the days to the launch with posts on social media and even a Russian-themed menu in the cafeteria. For more information about NASA’s Expedition 44/45 as they prepare for their launch, go to: https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/

Countdown to NASA launch begins with HCMC-trained astronaut aboard

UPDATE: Dr. Kjell Lindgren’s launch to the International Space Station (ISS) was delayed after a problem occurred involving an unmanned cargo spacecraft delivering supplies to the ISS.  The investigation into what caused the problem is now completed – and the ISS launch has been rescheduled for July 22!

Dr. Kjell Lindgren credits his emergency medicine training at HCMC to preparing him for his space launch.

16101545838_76bedf4c47_zStaff at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) in Minneapolis are counting down the days until the launch of Expedition 45 crew members to the International Space Station in July when they’ll see their student, colleague and friend fulfill his dream of space travel.

NASA astronaut and former Chief Emergency Medicine Resident Dr. Kjell Lindgren will take his medical and aerospace training with him aboard a Soyuz spacecraft that will fly from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan to the International Space Station on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Dr. Lindgren and his Expedition 45 colleagues will remain on the Space Station until November 2015.

Dr. Lindgren completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at HCMC in 2005, where he appreciated the opportunity to train in a Level I Trauma Center with one of the most sought-after programs in the country. He is currently assigned as a flight engineer with Expedition 44/45.

“The training I received in the HCMC Emergency Medicine residency program provided me with a suite of skills that I still use today,” explains Dr. Lindgren.

In fact, he thinks it’s great training ground for spaceflight.

“The environment can be stressful, teamwork is critical, the job can be mundane one moment and high stakes the next, the breadth of knowledge required is intimidating, and the coffee is not always great.”

Hennepin County Medical Center is a nationally recognized Level I Adult Trauma Center and Level I Pediatric Trauma Center with the largest emergency department in Minnesota. The comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital includes a 472-bed acute care hospital as well as primary care and specialty clinics located in downtown Minneapolis its surrounding communities.

See YouTube video about Dr. Lindgren and his crew.

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