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newsline1209.qxp 11/25/2009 12:02 PM Page 16 Newsline Quick eye test can indicate possible stroke CLINICIANS may soon have a rendered the correct diagnosis for simple method for diagnosing these patients. In a statement de- stroke in patients complaining of scribing the findings, neurologist dizziness,nausea,and spinning sen- and lead investigator David E. sations. Stroke researchers are test- Newman-Toker, MD, of Johns ing a one-minute eye movement Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore exam that involves three maneu- says,“The idea that a bedside ex- vers:moving the patient’s head rap- am could outperform a modern idly from side to side to detect an neuroimaging test such as MRI is inability to keep the eyes stable; something that most people had looking for jerking eye move- given up for dead, but we’ve ments when the patient’s eyes fol- shown it is possible.” low the clinician’s finger as it Previous research had shown that moves right and left; and checking people experiencing a stroke have the patient’s eye position to see if nausea/vomiting,head-motion in- The “follow my eye-movement alterations that one eye is higher than the other. tolerance, nystagmus, and un- finger” test is correlate with stroke damage to (Stroke.2009;40:3504-3510). steady gait).All the study subjects part of a brief various areas of the brain — alter- In a recent small “proof of prin- had felt severe dizziness for several eye movement ations that are distinct from those ciple” study, 69 of 69 strokes were continuous hours and had at least exam to help caused by benign ear problems. In correctly diagnosed using the one risk factor for stroke. diagnose stroke. addition to successfully identify- HINTS (Head-Impulse/Nystag- MRI scans fared less well than ing stroke, the eye-movement tes
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