“Hearing” Concussions

Though they are quite different on the surface, soldiers and college athletes both function in roles that can result in physical injury.  Unfortunately, this commonality means that both soldiers and college athletes have a higher likelihood of getting a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), also known as a concussion.  Because of this, the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) joined forces in a search to find a better way of detecting mTBI, which may not be immediately recognizable.  The project, known as the “Grand Alliance”, is being conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s government-funded Lincoln Laboratory (MIT LL), with the goal of creating “a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared, real-time mild TBI screening app and hardware device which can be used throughout the echelons of care from point of injury to rehabilitation,” said Brian Dacanay, USAMMA product manager.  Essentially, they are in the process of creating “a computer algorithm to identify vocal biomarkers” to be used on a portable smartphone-size device that could help identify when someone needs medical help for a concussion.  MIT LL hopes to have the device ready for FDA approval by 2018.

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