Navigation Links
Better Helmet Design Might Lower Soldiers' Risk for Brain Injury

By Maureen Salamon
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Adding face shields to soldiers' helmets could diminish brain damage resulting from explosions, which account for more than half of all combat-related injuries sustained by U.S. troops, a new study suggests.

Using computer models to simulate battlefield blasts and their effects on brain tissue, researchers learned that the face is the main pathway through which an explosion's pressure waves reach the brain.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, about 130,000 U.S. service members deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq have sustained blast-induced traumatic brain injury (TBI) from explosions.

The addition of a face shield made with transparent armor material to the advanced combat helmets (ACH) worn by most troops significantly impeded direct blast waves to the face, mitigating brain injury, said lead researcher Raul Radovitzky, an associate professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

"We tried to assess the physics of the problem, but also the biological and clinical responses, and tie it all together," said Radovitzky, who is also associate director of MIT's Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. "The key thing from our point of view is that we saw the problem in the news and thought maybe we could make a contribution."

Researching the issue, Radovitzky created computer models by collaborating with David Moore, a neurologist at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Moore used MRI scans to simulate features of the brain, and the two scientists compared how the brain would respond to a frontal blast wave in three scenarios: a head with no helmet, a head wearing the ACH, and a head wearing the ACH plus a face shield.

The sophisticated computer models were able to integrate the force of blast waves with skull features such as the sinuses, cerebrospinal fluid, and the layers of gray and white matter in the brain.

Results revealed that without the face shield, the ACH slightly delayed the blast wave's arrival but did not significantly lessen its effect on brain tissue. Adding a face shield, however, considerably reduced forces on the brain.

The study, published online Nov. 22 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contradicts previous research that suggested that the ACH could mitigate brain injury in service members -- the most common injury sustained by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"This study really has two key contributions," Radovitzky said. "First, that the ACH doesn't help a lot for blast protection, and second, but it doesn't make it worse. We are not saying anything negative about the ACH, just the opposite. With the helmet, we saw a lot of improvement compared to an unprotected face."

Dr. Michael Lipton, associate director of the Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, said one of his concerns about the study is that the only thing modeled was the effect of a blast.

"Really, there's no such thing as an isolated blast," Lipton said, explaining that the impact typically knocks one to the ground or causes the head to hit other objects. "There are blast waves, but an impact component also. Very commonly, there's a whole spectrum of injury. It all depends on the position and proximity of the patient to the blast."

Lipton pointed out that a face shield wouldn't just help soldiers involved in heavy explosions, but also in smaller blasts that happen on an everyday basis.

"It's not uncommon for these soldiers to get exposed to multiple blast injuries without being removed from repeated [combat] exposure recognized as significant injuries," Lipton said. "Protection might even be more efficacious in repeated impacts."

Radovitzky said many details need to be addressed before a face shield could be integrated into soldiers' helmets. Further research will focus on expanding what's understood about head injuries from blasts, he said.

"There are a lot of things I don't understand from an operational standpoint of a soldier," he said. "There's a lot more we need to know. We are all trying to fill in the gaps and connect the dots."

More information

Find out more about traumatic brain injuries at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center.

SOURCES: Raul Radovitzky, Ph.D., associate professor, department of aeronautics and astronautics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and associate director, MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, Cambridge, Mass.; Michael Lipton, M.D., associate director, Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Nov. 22, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Undergrads Who Twitter May Do Better, Study Finds
2. Cancer experience worse for young adults in spite of better survival odds
3. Combined imaging technologies may better identify cancerous breast lesions
4. Vapor rub relieves cold symptoms for children, helps them sleep better
5. As Clocks Fall Back on Sunday, Think About Better Sleep
6. Better Hepatitis C Surveillance Helps Public, CDC Finds
7. Higher medication spending doesnt indicate better prescribing quality
8. Pricey Drugs May Not Mean Better Care
9. Insulin-creating cell research may lead to better diabetes treatment
10. Colorectal cancer patients with gene mutation show better response to cancer agent
11. Stroma may provide key to better cancer treatment
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Better Helmet Design Might Lower Soldiers' Risk for Brain Injury
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... PawPaws brand pet supplements owned by Whole Health Supply ... health of felines. The formula is all-natural and is made from Chinese herbs that ... Cat Kidney Support Supplement Soft Chews are Astragalus Root Extract and Rehmannia Root ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 ... ... respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These women need ... but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for preservation of ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs ... College of Mohs Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. ... treatment for skin cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 ... their specific project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ... and all within Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar ... M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal ... complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... to their offering. ... World Market for Companion Diagnostics covers the world market for ... report includes the following: , World IVD ... (N. America, EU, ROW), 2015-2020 , World IVD Companion ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , Belgium , June 24, ... VNRX), today announced the appointment of Dr. ... Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, ... Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As ... Futcher will provide independent expertise and strategic counsel ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition ... 2022" report to their offering. ... with kidney failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by ... and thus the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: