Student Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2022

Document Type




First Advisor

Dr. Michael Chiacchiero PT, DPT


A concussion is a violent jarring or shaking of the head caused by whiplash or direct impact that results in a disturbance of brain function. Concussions can be mild and brief, as a person may be dazed momentarily or can be more serious, resulting in a loss of consciousness. Underreporting of concussions is prevalent because they are a symptom-based diagnosis, lacking a clinical test. In this study, we investigated the use of VNG testing as a clinical diagnosis of concussions. Looking at the VNG test battery, the previous research cohort found that saccades, gaze, and positional testing are the most sensitive identifiers of concussion when looking for the presence of microsaccades, which are small jerky eye movements that occur when fixating on a stationary image. By grouping these 3 most sensitive tests into a 3-test cluster, they found that 78% of true concussion patients (155 subjects) demonstrated abnormal microsaccades in one of these three tests. We studied subjects without a history of concussion for presence of microsaccades in order to determine specificity of these tests. Of the 64 subjects screened and included in the study for this group, none of the subjects demonstrated evidence of abnormal microsaccades in the 3-test cluster. As a result, we conclude that our 3-test VNG cluster can potentially produce a moderately sensitive, highly specific screening for patients suspected of having a concussion.



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