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New technology could detect severe brain injuries within seconds

Car accidents, sporting injuries and falls all have the potential to cause someone in Pennsylvania to injure their brain. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 30 percent of fatalities due to injuries in our nation feature traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Severe TBIs involve intracranial bleeding, that is, bleeding in the person's brain. To treat such bleeding, the person's skull must be opened up surgically as soon as possible and to relieve the pressure on the person's brain and get rid of any blood clots. In fact, if such a procedure does not occur within four hours of the injury, a person's chance of survival goes from 70 percent down to 10 percent.

Unfortunately, it is not always easy to identify such injuries, and they often necessitate a CT scan, a procedure that is costly and often cannot be performed immediately. But, one newly published article found in the Journal of Neurotrauma reports that in some cases, technology used to detect strokes can also be used to quickly spot intercranial bleeding.

Known as the "Strokefinder," the technology is a helmet containing microwave antennas. Each of these antennas jolts a little bit of microwave radiation at different frequencies through the wearer's brain, which are subsequently picked up by the other antennas. An algorithm is then used to identify blood clots or bleeding in the brain, within a matter of 45 seconds. It is hoped that the use of this technology will allow those who suffer from severe TBIs to be transferred to the appropriate medical care facilities as quickly as possible.

Right now, this technology has only been used on those with non-life threatening chronic brain hematomas, which do not necessitate an immediate surgical procedure. But, scientists believe that this technology may also prove to be useful in emergency situations.

This technology could potentially save the lives of brain injury victims. Any measure that has the potential to save lives in such situations deserves attention. Until then, such injuries may be diagnosed by costly CT scans. The costs involved with a CT scan, a surgical procedure and a hospital stay can be astronomical. Therefore, if a person's brain injury was the result of another person's negligence, the brain injury victim may want to pursue compensation from the responsible party.

Source: Smithsonian.com, "A Microwave Helmet May Help Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury," accessed on March 30, 2017

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