Eye tracking technology detects brain disease

 The startup Saccadous has tapped into 10 years of research out of Barrow's Neurological Institute. Using a brain camera, a doctor or football coach can scan someone's eyes and analyze the tiny movements to diagnose a brain injury or even Alzheimer's in real time.

What if you could diagnose Alzheimer's or a traumatic brain injury just by looking at someone's eyes. Scottsdale startup Saccadous has developed technology to do just that.

"We run some software on this tablet that will capture the eye movements, and then we will send that data to the cloud where it is analyzed using big data type technologies," said Craif Caffarelli, co-founder of Saccadous.

The company uses a high speed camera to capture tiny, jerky eye movements called "microsaccades." These movements form patterns that correlate with certain neurological disorders.

"Researchers have found that Parkinson's patients, their eyes drift kind of down and to the right, with Alzheimer's there's a lot more vertical movement in the drift and the correction," said Wiley Larsen the company CEO. 

The eye tracking process takes just 3-5 minutes, since the camera can attach to any mobile device, the technology is extremely portable.

"Imagine like high school football, if we baseline every player on the team during the off season when we know they were in a healthy state, when they get hit in a football game you can take an instant scan and compare it to the baseline," said Caffarelli.

Coaches, trainers, and doctors can see test results in real time anywhere in the world, making early diagnosis and proper treatment easier.

"We're trying to simplify this so that anybody can administer this test or mobilize it so it can be done on a battlefield, or on the sideline of a football game, or anywhere really," he said.

The founders say this kind of technology is a great alternative to other diagnostics like MRI's that obviously take much longer and cost a lot more. The device isn't on the market yet, but eventually should sell for around $1,000.
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