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Sensors being studied by Navy could help brain injury research

New technology is one of the most exciting things for people who are suffering from a brain injury. This technology is also important for the medical professionals who are going to diagnose and treat people who have suffered these injuries. The United States Navy is currently studying a system dubbed BLAST, short for Blast Load Assessment Sense and Test, to study how blasts affect the brain at various levels of shock.

The BLAST device is comprised of sensors that are placed in body armor or helmets. The sensors collect data about the environment. This data is accessed by medical personnel and can help them to to learn more about the factors that impacted the brain injury.

The sensors of the BLAST device are blast-proof, so they aren't likely going to be destroyed if the person wearing it suffers a considerable hit. In the field, the data could be retrieved by a device, most likely a barcode scanner device, that corpsmen would carry. Determinations about a service member's suitability to continue fighting or needing to seek medical care could be a bit easier thanks to the information collected by the scanners.

Unfortunately, it will be a while before the effectiveness of the BLAST system is known. The device will be rolled out to members of the Marine Corps who are undergoing breacher training within the next year and a half. It is estimated that it will be available to the Navy and the Marine Corps within the next three to five years.

While this device is currently geared toward military members, it might prove useful in some civilian fields. Football players, for example, might benefit from having the BLAST device placed in their helmets.

As it stands now, people who suffer from a brain injury are stuck with the current technology. This can sometimes mean invasive tests and difficult treatment. The costs can be astronomical, so some people might opt to seek compensation for their injury.

Source: Military Times, "Naval Research seeks to tackle traumatic brain injury," Shawn Snow, Jan. 13, 2017

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