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Students focus on creating a better cervical collar
Date:4/9/2012

Undergraduate students at Rice University have come up with what they hope will prove to be a better and safer version of cervical collars to stabilize the heads and necks of accident victims. Cervical collars have been in common use since their introduction during the Vietnam War.

The Rice seniors known as Team CivSAFE took on the challenge of a Houston researcher, an expert in spine mechanics, to develop safe and effective cervical spine protection for trauma victims.

The team of three mechanical engineering and three bioengineering students responded to the challenge with a prototype that immobilizes the head without putting pressure on the neck. Kelsey Horter, a bioengineering student and a certified emergency medical technician, said the students tested a cervical collar currently used and found that when a patient's neck is injured, the collar can push the head away from the body. "That separates the vertebrae and can make neck injuries worse. Some physicians believe the current collar may have compounded injuries," she said.

"The collar was developed during the Vietnam War as a device that could be put on really quickly and would be easy to use," said Rice senior Georgia Lagoudas.

"Now problems with the current collar are being discovered," Horter said. "We went back to basic emergency-care ideas. As EMTs, we're taught that if the knee is hurt, you stabilize above and below it. You never just stabilize the part that's injured which is exactly what we think the current cervical collar does. We jumped on the premise that if we could stabilize the head and the torso right beneath the neck, then we could stabilize the neck. That's what our device does."

Standard collars wrap around the neck. The Rice device, called the HeadCase, takes a very different approach. "We placed the support on the side of the cheeks and the chest, and the top of the back," said team member Sailesh Prabhu. "The result has been greater
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Contact: David Ruth
david@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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