Brain injury is any form of damage caused to the brain either through external force or after birth. A brain injury is generally classified in two types – traumatic and acquired. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as an alteration in the functioning of brain caused by an external force. Whereas an acquired brain injury is an injury caused to the brain after birth. An acquired brain injury is not hereditary, degenerative, congenital or induced by birth trauma. Examples of acquired brain injury include stroke, tumor, electric shock, hypoxic or anoxic brain injury or lightning strike.
According to the Centers for Disease and Control Injury Prevention Center, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are falls (40.5%), motor vehicle (14.3%), struck by/against (15%) and assault (10.7%). About 19% of the causes are unknown. Traumatic brain injury results in an estimated 2685 deaths and 37,000 hospitalizations.
In general, there are different types of brain injury – Concussion (TBI), Diffuse Axonal Injury (TBI), Contusion (TBI), Second Impact Syndrome (TBI), Coup-contre coup injury (TBI), Penetrating Injury (TBI), Hypoxic brain injury (ABI), Anoxic brain injury (ABI), Locked in Syndrome (TBI), Open and Closed Head Injuries, and Shaken Baby Syndrome (TBI). These types of brain injuries are usually determined by undergoing the expensive MRI or CT scan at hospitals. A portable device that can help determine the need for undergoing the MRI or CT scan can be of great use during emergency situations, military purpose and ambulance services. A portable brain injury scanner is not the replacement of a computed tomography (CT) scan. It is just a screening tool that helps in identifying high risk patients, requiring prioritization of a CT scan and a neurosurgical treatment. The first such device, Infrascanner Model 1000, was being approved by the U.S. FDA in 2011.
The portable brain injury scanner can be used in emergency rooms, intensive care units, field hospitals, military, ambulance services, remote locations and in sports medicine. The Infrascanner which uses the near infrared (NIR) technology to screen patients has been deployed for use by the U.S. Marine Corps. Infrascanner is a portable, FDA approved and CE marked device that empowers physicians to understand the current functioning of the brain and identify any symptoms of damage. Besides, emergency care departments can be one of the major users of this device to determine the brain injury.
Yet to Establish in the Developed Regions
The portable brain injury scanners are still to capitalize on the opportunities in the U.S., Canada, and European markets. A head injury usually requires a trip to the hospital and a potentially expensive MRI or CT scan. This device helps to identify the need for a MRI and CT scan before incurring that high cost of scanning. Recently, the Neural Analytics received a USD 3 million funding from the National Institutes of Health to aid in the development of portable brain monitoring platform.
Moreover, this new technology is also desired by the emerging nations like India, China, Brazil, and Russia to help them avoid the risk of complications while transporting a patient with traumatic brain injury to the nearby hospital for a CT scan. With increasing research, the technology will further improve with increase accuracy and integration with information technology for anytime and anywhere accessibility of the reports.
Some of the major players in this market include BrainScope Company, Inc., Neural Analytics, and InfraScan, Inc.
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