Video: Color-Changing Material May Help Detect Traumatic Brain Injury

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Head trauma is increasingly becoming a top concern among health professionals as long-term ramifications come into focus.
Head trauma is increasingly becoming a top concern among health professionals as long-term ramifications come into focus.

Red means stop. That may soon be the case when detecting traumatic brain injuries, thanks to an innovative material that changes color based on force of impact.

The polymer-based material, created by a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, may be an important development in the detection of traumatic brain injuries sustained during athletic events and other scenarios, including combat. The team presented their findings at the 250th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Boston.

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Head trauma, especially from sports such as football and blast injuries sustained during combat, is increasingly becoming a top concern among health professionals as long-term ramifications come into focus. Lacking however is a clear, quick detection tool to assist medical decision-making on the spot. Often, participants re-engage with their activity after sustaining a head injury due to failed detection or mild symptoms, which can cause further damage. 

The researchers set out to develop such a tool that could potentially be incorporated into protective head gear that indicates the extent of damage and allows the persons involved to seek immediate medical attention. 

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