Over the last year, a few major breakthroughs have forged the path forward for transforming the ways we address, diagnose, and prevent brain injuries, all of which can benefit our military heroes. These developments have not all been implemented yet, but as begin to be, we can monitor the rate of injuries as well as how treatment affects patients injured.
One of the foremost advances that has been identified is the need for action more quickly regarding brain injuries. When military service members are wounded in a manner that may also cause a brain injury, identifying the possible brain trauma needs to happen with a sense of urgency. In the past, it may take months of exhibiting symptoms for a patient to get referred to a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) clinic. Now, it has become standard practice that after seven days of no improvement, a referral is made.
Pre-deployment measures can also be taken to both diagnose and learn more about TBIs in the military. Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric (ANAM), a computer-based assessment, has been used in pre-deployment at some of our Intrepid Spirit Centers. ANAM monitors a person’s neurological activity including reaction time, attention, memory, concentration, and decision-making. Having this baseline assessment allows a comparison in instances where a patient experiences an event which may lead to brain injury.
Incredibly, a blood test that can detect brain injuries has recently been developed and cleared by the Food and Drug Administration. Brain Trauma Indicator (BTI) identifies protein markers in the brain that elevate 12 hours after an incident which causes a brain injury and can also indicate whether or not there is bleeding occurring in the brain. The proteins do not elevate when the brain is uninjured, or when a mild injury such as a concussion occurs. Prior to the development of this test, subjective means of diagnosis were the primary path to a brain injury diagnosis, which makes this development a major one in the field of brain injury treatment. Time is of the essence with some brain injuries, so having this test can significantly alter the way brain injuries are diagnosed and the speed at which they’re addressed.
Finally, technology that may help prevent brain injuries in vehicle blasts is also in development. Last year, the University of Maryland announced a new shock-absorbing device that has been shown to reduce injuries of occupants caused by under-vehicle explosions. If the design can be implemented into modern military vehicles, it could significantly reduce the quantity of brain injuries that occur in the field each year.
While all of these advances will transform how we address brain injuries in the coming years, the need still persists for facilities to diagnose and treat brain injuries in our military service members. Our Intrepid Spirit Centers are specially equipped to handle the task, and have been treating patients since our first center opened in 2013. 7 centers are completed, with 3 more planned. Your support and donations will help us reach this goal to treat more service members and heal their brain injuries. Learn more about our mission and donate today.
Posted on March 25 2019 in Blog