In search of better ways to detect concussions, Army inks deal with NeuroWave Systems

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As part of a wider effort to identify and address traumatic brain injuries in soldiers, the US Army has taken interest in a product being developed by brain monitoring device company NeuroWave Systems Inc.

The Cleveland-area company just won a new, $2.5 million contract through the Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command to develop a device that would let medics screen for traumatic brain injury in soldiers in the field.

Called SeizTBI, the device is a wearable, miniaturized version of the company’s FDA-cleared NeuroFAST brain monitor designed to be used as an early screening tool. “We believe the SeizTBI will become part of the medic’s medical pack to screen for a suspected concussion or TBI,” NeuroWave’s principal investigator, Dr. Stephane Bibian, said in a company statement. “The device will automatically acquire and save post-injury electroencephalogram (EEG) data, and process the signals to detect the early EEG markers of TBI.”

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Recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq resulted in more combat-related brain injuries than past conflicts, according to the Deployment Health Clinical Center, although most are mild. In one 2009 study, more than one in five soldiers in a nearly 4,000-member Brigade Combat Team returned from Iraq with a clinician-confirmed TBI. Another study in military personnel established a strong connection between concussion and post-traumatic stress disorder and physical health problems several months later.

Detection and stabilization within the “golden hour” after a traumatic injury is thought to be crucial for patient’s health. But even with improved diagnostics, current treatments are limited. For many, rest, surgery or rehabilitation are the recommended interventions.  The Army’s Medical Research and Materiel Command has engaged in a number of similar contracts to support development of methods for preventing and treating TBI, and for other methods of screening including a hand-held-device by BrainScope.

This isn’t the first time NeuroWave has done work with the Army. A few years ago, it won a contract to develop a product called AutoTIVA, a portable, closed-loop anesthesia system that uses algorithms to automatically maintain the proper level of anesthesia in patients. That technology is based on its NeuroSENSE technology, which is the company’s only commercially available product, although it’s only on the market in Canada and Europe.

NeuroWave was spun off from Cleveland Medical Devices in 2008.

[Photo from Flickr user US Army]

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Deanna Pogorelc

By Deanna Pogorelc MedCity News

Deanna Pogorelc is a Cleveland-based reporter who writes obsessively about life science startups across the country, looking to technology transfer offices, startup incubators and investment funds to see what’s next in healthcare. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ball State University and previously covered business and education for a northeast Indiana newspaper.
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