Retired U.S. Navy sonar experts have helped create a novel portable device to detect, diagnose, and monitor strokes. The brain-imaging system uses a simple headset and laptop--and decades of submarine technology--to home in on brain activity that signifies trouble.
The headset is equipped with six highly sensitive accelerometers. Instead of peering out through the rounded bow of a submarine, they are oriented inward toward the brain.
The brain's machinations (veins expanding and contracting, aneurysms wobbling) each have their own unique vibrations that cause slight skull pulsations. The headset sensors measure these movements to look for irregular blood flow in much the same way submarines measure motion and generate signals that are processed, analyzed, and matched to objects.
Data on the type and location of brain vascular abnormalities is then rapidly sent to the PC.
"As sonar sorts out whales and other objects from vessels, the device sorts out cerebral abnormalities such as aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries), ischemic strokes, and traumatic brain injury from normal variations in physiology," said Dr. Kieran J. Murphy, director of research and deputy chief of radiology at the University of Toronto and University Health Network in Toronto, in a release (PDF).
Murphy is presenting trial data on the device--developed by Mountain View, Calif.-based Jan Medical--at the Society of Interventional Radiology's 36th Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago this week. … Read more