The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new mobile phone-based application designed to help medical providers identify traumatic brain injury in soldiers.
Created by AnthroTronix, the Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment (DANA) operates like a video game, enabling military personnel to perform a baseline series of on-screen exercises, during which both their speed and accuracy will be recorded.
Service members with possible serious head injuries will then participate in a series of cognitive efficiency tests and self-administered questionnaires, and the results will be reviewed and compared with the results of the baseline exercises to diagnose a patient in as little as five minutes.
Specifically, the app's cognitive and psychological components provide insight into the prevalence of symptoms related to traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Technology enabled capability demonstration: brain in combat portfolio of the combat casualty care research programme manager lieutenant colonel Chessley Atchison said: "It's like a brain thermometer."
AnthroTronix founder and chief executive officer Corinna Lathan said: "In essence, measuring reaction time is like taking the temperature of the brain.
"It's a vital part of the data that any health professional needs to evaluate his patient."
According to the DANA research team, reaction time might be affected by concussion, dementia, post-traumatic stress, depression and fatigue, among others.
Created through a grant from the Rapid Innovation Fund, DANA will be given to medical providers once fully validated for battlefield use.
The application may also be used to help assess fitness for duty and possible triage requirements.
More than 27,000 cases of traumatic brain injury were diagnosed across all four main service branches stationed worldwide in 2013, according to the US Department of Defense (DoD).
The number is almost triple those diagnosed in 2000, when the DoD first started recording traumatic brain injury statistics.
Image: The Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment tool is designed to help medical providers identify cases of traumatic brain injury in almost any setting. Photo: courtesy of AnthroTronix, Inc.