Quantitative health: the Impact concussion test

Sam, a hockey player, had taken a blow to his head. He had blacked out momentarily and then felt dizzy for a while, but now, a couple of days later, he felt fine. No nausea, no pupil dilation, and his memory seemed fine; in short, no symptoms. Time to play, right?

Most players would have been back out on the ice, but Sam had taken the Impact test a couple of years earlier to establish a baseline of normal brain function. Taking the test again revealed evidence of a concussion. “My reaction time is way down”, Sam noted with real surprise and concern. So were a number of other measures.  Instead of getting right back in the game, Sam spent more than a week resting and avoiding stimulation.

The Impact test is a great example of quantitative health, a concept we explore in our chapter on health. A wave is coming of cheaper lab tests, wearable devices, and even in-body devices that will serve up hard data about our bodies.


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