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Jack Sisson's TBI Blog

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From The Republic:

Growing awareness of the toll that concussions and traumatic brain injuries reap on battlefields and playing fields is drawing new ideas from researchers across many disciplines.

One of the greatest challenges for those treating soldiers, athletes or other trauma victims is simply determining whether a brain injury has taken place.

Most concussion symptoms -- dizziness, nausea, lack of focus -- can also be caused by other medical conditions, making it difficult for athletic trainers or medics to take the next steps toward diagnosis and treatment of an injury that affects more than 1 million Americans each year.

Even brain-imaging tests done after a concussion may not reveal damage from a mild brain injury, particularly if there is no earlier image for comparison.

Now a team of doctors and engineers at the University of Pennsylvania has developed a "blast badge" that changes color in a spectrum that reflects the intensity of an explosion to which a wearer has been exposed.

Made of color-changing crystals designed to break apart when exposed to shockwaves of differing strengths, the badges are lightweight, durable and require no power, yet flexible enough to be attached to uniforms or helmets in thin sheets.

At this point, the scientists have demonstrated that the material will react to explosive shockwaves. Next, they will be working to calibrate color changes to correspond to the potential harm a certain level of blast might cause to the brain, and what kind of medical response might be needed.

The work was published in a recent issue of the journal Neuroimage.

Continue reading for more developments in TBI research.

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