A headset that identifies oedemas and haematomas in brain trauma patients through the sending and receiving of electromagnetic signals is the latest solution to the traumatic brain injury epidemic sweeping the country. This specific product hopes to provide a fast and cheap diagnosis method for those in rural areas who may not have access to the larger machines used in well funded hospitals.
The first small trial of the Volumetric Electromagnetic Phase Shift Spectroscopy (VEPS) headset was recently conducted in a military hospital in Mexico, and successfully showed the machine could pick up differences in the structure of the brain caused by the presence of excess fluid or blood, according to Wired.
The headsets send low energy electromagnetic fields through the brain, which is read to pick up any anomalies caused by fluids that alter the conductivity of the brain’s network. The variations in the signal pattern are read by a computer algorithm to identify whether blood or fluid build-ups are to blame for the trauma.
“We have adjusted the coils so that if the brain works perfectly, we have a clean signal,” explained Boris Rubinsky of UC Berkeley, who helped coauthor the study, which has been published online in PLOS One. “Whenever there are interferences in the functioning of the brain, we detect them as changes in the received signal. We can tell from the changes, or ‘noises,’ what the brain injury is.”
Only time will tell which of these technological solutions will become commonly used in the future to help diagnose brain trauma, and the VEPS headset is only completing small trials at the moment, so it is still far from reaching the rural communities it hopes to help. Still, the innovation in this field shows we may have improved treatments and diagnosis for traumatic brain injury well before many ever imagined.