October 19, 2015 – Missed Strokes


Anchor lead: Can eye movements help doctors avoid missing strokes? Elizabeth Tracey reports

A new device that examines eye movements may be key in helping doctors identify people who are having a stroke but don’t have typical symptoms.  David Newman-Toker, a stroke expert and one developer of the device at Johns Hopkins, explains why such an ability is important.

Newman-Toker: It turns out that people who come to the emergency department with stroke often present with the symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.  Those patients are more apt to be missed than the typical patient who has weakness on one side of the body or can’t speak, one of the more typical symptoms, and that’s because the stroke is affecting the back part of the brain, in about one in five strokes affects the back part of the brain.  So we’ve focused on eye movements as a means to detect those strokes and the identify them and to differentiate them from the more common cause of dizziness and balance problems that come from the inner ear.   :29

Newman-Toker says the eyes are integrated with other parts of the brain, and when a stroke takes place changes are immediately apparent in eye movements.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.