5 Highlights of the Latest NeuroTracker Science

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Whether it’s assessing concussions, sports injuries and driving safety, or improving soccer player and jet pilot performance, a lot has been happening in the last year or so of NeuroTracker research.  With so much being published across diverse areas of human performance, it can be challenging to keep track. For that reason, let’s take a bird’s eye view of 5 key findings of the latest peer-reviewed studies.

1. Enhancing Decision-Making on the Field (1)

 

Far transfer is the ultimate test of any training method.  It’s also extremely rare in sports. This study trained soccer players on 30 sessions of NeuroTracker and compared them to active and passive control groups.  Players’ passing decision-making accuracy was evaluated across competitive games pre- and post-training. Video recordings of play were objectively analyzed by a neutral expert

The NeuroTracker trained group showed an increase of 15% improvement in passing decision-making skill, compared to negligible change with the control groups.

Out 1,692 reviewed studies, this was the only study to show reliable evidence of far transfer to competition performance.

2. Improving Jet Pilot Training (2)

In an experimental combination of man-machine technology, an L-29 jet plane had a NeuroTracker system integrated into the dashboard and pilots were hooked up with eye tracking and ECG equipment.

The aim was to use NeuroTracker to measure pilots’ spare cognitive capacity under different levels of flight difficulty, both in simulators and in live flight, and provide an objective assessment of training effectiveness. This could lead to reduced attrition rates, accelerated learning, and personalized training.

The findings showed that the more difficult the flight maneuver the less spare cognitive capacity was available for NeuroTracking, with greater effects for live flight compared to simulated flight. This is part of a multi-year research project looking to assess pilots’ training capabilities in order to optimize training loads to individual needs.

3. Managing Concussions (3-5)

NeuroTracker has garnered much interest for concussions interventions this past year, with Shift Concussion Management rolling it out to specialists across Canada. 3 separate concussion studies were all published in close succession.

Stimulating recovery (3) – healthy youths and post-mTBI youths performed an 18 session NeuroTracker program.  Post-mTBI youths showed almost no learning effects over the first 6 sessions. Then over the remaining 12 sessions, their learning curves closely matched the control group.  The learning rates revealed cognitive deficits that would normally be hidden during return to activity. More importantly, the training appeared to stimulate a rapid recovery.

Motor-cognitive assessment (4) – 106 youth performed motor (balance) and cognitive (NeuroTracker) tasks under single- and dual-task conditions. Performing the combined motor-cognitive task significantly reduced postural stability.  This study established a normative dataset to help clinical practices reveal the effects of a concussion for guiding Return to Play decisions in sports.

Correlation with other assessments (5) – component tests of the SCAT3 and King Devick Test (standardized assessments) correlated significantly with NeuroTracker speed thresholds. The authors suggested that these correlations could help clinicians make better Return to Play decisions.

4. Predicting Sports Injury Risks (6)

College athletes were tasked with performing jump sequences while their movements measured via force plates and advanced motion capture. NeuroTracker was also performed as a dual-task on half of the trials.

For 60% of the participants, performing NeuroTracker on the jumps caused their knee abduction angle to change in ways associated with increased risks of ACL injury.

This study showed that using NeuroTracker to simulate the mental demands of sports performance could reveal those individuals who are particularly susceptible to ACL injury.  A follow-up study will see if NeuroTracker training can reverse these types of injury risk factors.

5. Assessing Driving Safety (7-9)

3 separate studies all put people’s driving skills to the test using advanced simulators.  These provided a wealth of performance metrics under low, medium, and high difficulty driving conditions

The largest study also tested young, adult and elderly drivers.  The driving metrics were compared to NeuroTracker baselines.  

Analysis showed that NeuroTracker scores strongly correlated with key aspects of driving performance.  This included predicting crash risk, driving speed, and emergency response behaviors. NeuroTracker was a more significant predictor of driving performance than age. Authors of the studies collectively agreed that NeuroTracker could provide a valuable and practical method for assessing driving skills.

Other Findings

Outside of these key studies, other published research included the following findings,

  • NeuroTracker measures predict running intensity in rugby competition (10).
  • NeuroTracker training may sustain and enhance the effects of neuropharmaceuticals (11).
  • Stadium crowd noise can be used to boost NeuroTracker learning rates (12).
  • Dynamic stereoscopic visual capacities decline with healthy aging (13).

As we can see, the movement in NeuroTracker science is continuously growing and evolving in diverse and exciting ways.  Look out for an upcoming landmark study showing that NeuroTracker can enhance the learning capacities of children with learning difficulties.

If you are interested in reading more of our available research, you can find study summaries here.

Performance

Wellness

Learning

Original Studies

   1.   ‘3D-Multiple Object Tracking task performance improves passing decision-making accuracy in soccer players’
NeuroTracker training provides improvements to passing and decision-making in competitive performance.

   2.   ‘Perceptual-Cognitive & Physiological Assessment of Training Effectiveness’
NeuroTracker measures reveal the cognitive demands of simulated and live flight performance.

   3.   ‘Three-dimensional multiple object tracking in the pediatric population: the NeuroTracker and its promising role in the management of mild traumatic brain injury’
NeuroTracker as a promising tool for mTBI assessment and recovery with children.

   4.   ‘Relationship between King Devick Test, SCAT3 and 3D MOT in cognitive assessment’
Analytical comparisons between the King Devick Test, SCAT3, and NeuroTracker measures.

   5.   ‘Using a dual-task protocol to investigate motor and cognitive performance in healthy children and youth’
Establishing normative datasets for cognitive-motor assessment of youth following concussion.

   6.   ‘Evaluating the effect of a perceptual-cognitive task On landing biomechanics of the lower limb’
NeuroTracker combined with motor-skill dual-task measures reveal associated ACL injury risk factors.

   7.   ‘Driving simulator scenarios and measures to faithfully evaluate risky driving behavior: A comparative study of different driver age groups’
NeuroTracker baselines showed significant predictability for driving risk and behavior.

   8.   ‘Three-Dimensional Multiple Object Tracking Speed Thresholds are Associated with Measures of Simulated Driving Performance in Older Drivers’
A single NeuroTracker measure strongly correlates to older driver’s risks of crashes.

   9.   Above and beyond driving abilities: toward a single index’
Using combined assessments to develop a Single Index measure of driving ability.

   10.   ‘Spatial Awareness is Related to Moderate Intensity Running during a Collegiate Rugby Match’
NeuroTracker measures correlate with moderate intensity movement patterns of rugby players.

   11.   ‘Cholinergic Potentiation Improves Perceptual-Cognitive Training of Healthy Young Adults in Three Dimensional Multiple Object Tracking’
Combined cognitive training and Aricept intervention show increased learning and neuroplasticity.

   12.   ‘Exploring the Effect of Simulated Crowd Noise on Multiple Object Tracking Performance in USPORT Football Athletes’
NeuroTracker training with noise shows that training may be enhanced with athletes.

   13.   ‘Effect of age and stereopsis on a multiple-object tracking task’
NeuroTracker reveals age-related effects in processing stereoscopic information.

 

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