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The Concussion Center's staff is involved with research programs and innovations to support the growth of concussion treatment and services to all patients.
An intense interdisciplinary research focused in part on improving safety helmet and equipment design is underway across Cleveland Clinic.
Cleveland Clinic is investigating sensor-based biomarkers for improved concussion diagnosis and prognosis. The Intelligent Mouthguard uses impact sensors in tandem with high speed film captured at 10,000 frames per second to identify impacts most likely to cause concussion and long-term brain injury.
The Head, Neck and Spine Research Laboratory conducts testing and analysis of protective helmets. A recent laboratory study showed that modern American football helmets provided similar protection to 1920's era leather helmets in under very common impact conditions. Research continues with a current focus on how to design a helmet specifically for youth concussion protection.
Dr. Edward Benzel discusses the implications of concussions while on the playing field.
One of the questions Dr. Charles Bernick and his colleagues ask boxers who come to the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health here is, “How many times have you been knocked out cold or gotten a concussion?” Most say, “never.” Then the doctors ask, “How many times have you felt dazed and stunned?” Most say, “many times.”
This is part of the Professional Fighters Brain Health Study, now a year old and with results from 109 fighters — more than have ever been compiled in a single research project.
In the Lerner Research Institute, another team of researchers is developing a test to determine whether the blood-barrier has been breached, thus indicating which patients may need further evaluation. This simple test could spare less severely injured patients the radiation exposure of an unnecessary, costly CT scan.
Such a test, in combination with other brain-health indicators, could also help doctors track the long-term, cumulative impact of high-contact on athletes in sports like football or boxing, and help guide a decision on whether to continue.
The Spine Research Laboratory, part of the Neurological Institute, has developed a wireless, MEMS-Intelligent Mouthguard that measures in-game impact dynamics in contact sports such as football and boxing. With Bluetooth technology, data from the mouthguard is transmitted to a computer on the sidelines to measure head orientation, position, velocity and acceleration of impact. The data is used to assess real-time and post-competition neurological outcomes and to assist with rapid diagnosis of injury. Ultimately, the information will be useful in equipment design.
This app, a design led by Jay Alberts, PhD, BME, can be taken directly to the field of play. By comparing assessments of balance, reaction time, memory, and vision after a hit to data collected for that player during pre-season, a judgment can be made determining if the player can return to play worry-free, or if there is a question regarding the player's brain health.
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