A new helmet device could help doctors to diagnose traumatic brain injury.
An article in the Smithsonian explained that the helmet will aid doctors in discerning between strokes that block blood flow and ones that involve bleeding. Because the helmet can determine if there’s bleeding in the brain, doctors could also use the helmet to help diagnose traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
The device is called the Strokefinder and was built by Medfield Diagnostics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 percent of deaths due to injury feature TBIs. In 2013, that amounted to nearly 50,000 deaths in the United States.
More serious brain injuries involve bleeding in the brain. These types of injuries often require that doctors open the patient’s skull to release pressure that’s built up from blood clots and swelling.
The Smithsonian article explains an injury that involves bleeding on the brain requires specialized care at a neurotrauma center. If a patient isn’t sent in time, it can be the difference between life and death.
“The survival rate for patients with intracranial bleeding due to TBI drops from 70 percent to 10 percent if the hematoma is not removed within four hours, according to a 1981 study in the New England Journal of Medicine,” the article reads.
Diagnosing a concussion is inexact and when there’s bleeding in the brain, it takes a CT scan to discover it. A large machine that’s costly to use.
The Strokefinder has eight microwave antennas attached to it that send a small amount of microwave radiation through the brain (about the same amount of radiation people receive from a cell phone conversation).
“The process is repeated at several different frequencies. The microwaves will have progressed through the tissue in different ways, depending on the consistency of the tissue, and when filtered via an algorithm, the hematoma stands out, whether it’s due to a stroke or a TBI,” the article reads.
With a quick diagnosis, especially for TBI patients, doctors will be able to determine where the patient needs to go to get the neurological care they need.
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