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North Carolina Researchers Developing Tool To Detect Head Injuries

Posted on Jan 31, 2011
According to researchers in North Carolina, the world may be just a few years away from a new handheld device that could detect on the spot whether or not an accident victim has suffered head trauma. Currently at the Greensboro Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering in North Carolina, a team is working on a small device that could be carried by any number of people, from emergency responders to football coaches to those on construction sites.

When someone suffers a head injury today, it is difficult for those caring for the victim to determine whether or not that person has suffered a simple bump on the head or a more serious brain injury such as a concussion or a traumatic brain injury. For example, if a player on a football team takes a hard hit, his coach will determine whether or not it is safe for him to return to the game simply by looking for symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, or problems with speech or balance. However, some concussions don’t involve symptoms or may not show symptoms for several days. A device would allow a coach to determine on the spot whether his player needs medical attention and whether he is at risk for a second and more serious head injury.

The North Carolina researchers are developing their device to test either blood, urine, or saliva and would look for specific compounds that appear in the body after the brain suffers a trauma. The scientists hope that this device would be available widely, especially to emergency responders like EMT and police officers.

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