There’s a new technology that some doctors believe could be a significant breakthrough in addressing mild traumatic brain injury (“mTBI”) in sports.
The potential breakthrough is simply a band worn on the neck.
It was unveiled during a presentation that featured leading experts in neurology and medical research, including Dr. Julian Bailes, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Co-director of the NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurological institute; Dr. Gregory Myer, Director of Research for the Division of Sports Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s hospital; Dr. Neilank Jha, Neurosurgeon and Spine Surgeon and Chairman of KONKUSSION; and Dr. Charles Tator, Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Hospital.
“It was exciting to bring together such a renowned group of medical experts in the field of mild traumatic brain injury and have them agree that this technology and the supporting science behind it could be a step forward in addressing mTBI in sports,” said Kevin Davis, CEO of Performance Sports Group, which makes the neck band.
The band is the first technology of its kind that is intended to reduce mTBI internally by using the body’s own physiology rather than through the use of external protective devices, such as helmets. The band addresses the “slosh theory,” which was identified by Bailes, Dr. Joseph Fisher, Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute; and Dr. David Smith, Visiting Scientist, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center as one of the key causes of mTBI.
Slosh is the movement of the brain, which is floating in cerebrospinal fluid inside the skull. When the head experiences an impact, or sudden, extreme movement, the brain sloshes inside the skull and can rotate or strike the inside walls of the cranium, often tearing brain fibers. The result of these impacts can produce mTBI.
The band is designed to address this with the application of light pressure on the neck, which in turn mildly increases blood volume in the vein structure of the brain. This increase in blood volume is intended to minimize the sloshing of the brain inside the skull.
“This is the first solution to address mTBI from inside the skull,” said Bailes, a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute who is portrayed in the upcoming Sony Pictures film Concussion for his work to identify Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in former professional football players. “By increasing the volume of blood in the cranial cavity, there’s less room for the brain to move which reduces the overall slosh effect which we believe reduces mTBI. The research results are very encouraging and we are excited to work with Performance Sports Group to continue the important research and bring this technology to market.”
In two separate peer-reviewed research studies, which were published in the medical journals Neurosurgery and Journal of Neurosurgery,the researchers found an 83 percent reduction in the number of torn fibers in a standard concussion model when the band was utilized.
“There is more research that needs to be conducted and we are working with the relevant regulatory bodies to ensure we are following the appropriate and requisite steps to bring this technology to market,” Davis said. “Subject to completion of all the required testing, we would hope to potentially begin offering this product to athletes within the next 12-24 months.”
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