Blasts from improvised explosives and RPGs can cause traumatic brain injuries among soldiers, which can leave permanent damage. Sounds like a challenge for the Pentagon's mad science lab DARPA, which has issued a call for a brain freeze device that could stop the after-effects of brain trauma in its tracks, Wired's Danger Room reports.
We here at PopSci also previously examined these devastating effects on the lives of warfighters, long after their combat tours.
Past studies have shown how cooling the brain can dramatically protect humans suffering from strokes or aneurysms, and so DARPA wants to apply the same solution to traumatic brain injuries. The trick involves finding the right cooling temperature to slow trauma's ripple effect, but without causing damage to the brain through freezing -- a difficult task given that such a temperature may differ depending on the individual warfighter and his or her injury.
A combat-deployable device would ideally contain closed-loop feedback to regulate the temperature, as well as a quick diagnosis approach that could determine the best temperature. So any would-be medical saviors, put on your thinking caps and get to work.
[via Danger Room]