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BLAST: Greater Speed, Accuracy in Recognizing Brain Injury

February 13, 2017 | Source: Office of Naval Research (ONR), Warren Duffie Jr.

ARLINGTON, Va.—Modern body armor better protects warfighters against shrapnel from explosive blasts. However, they still face a hidden threat—the resulting blast pressure and shock wave that could cause traumatic brain injury (TBI).

To fight this invisible, insidious adversary, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) is sponsoring the development of a portable, three-part system that can measure blast pressure, establish injury thresholds for the brain and analyze potential TBI symptoms. It’s called Blast Load Assessment Sense and Test—BLAST, for short.

“A system like BLAST is vitally important because it can help recognize the signs of TBI early and tell warfighters they might need medical attention,” said Dr. Timothy Bentley, a program manager overseeing the research for ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department. “This reduces the likelihood of someone enduring multiple blasts and suffering more serious brain injury. BLAST also is unique for its unique suite of technology.”