IT Innovation Contest

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test for brain damage

Proposal Status: 

Title:  Test for brain damage

  1. Description of project: We propose to develop a device for measuring brain damage. It is based on prior observations1 that the ability to detect a ‘black flash’ is markedly affected by age and sedative drugs, but not by cholinergic or anti-cholinergic drugs.  A ‘black flash’ is defined as the extinguishing of an illuminated diode for from 10 to 100 msec. Preliminary work will be done with a single diode, then a circular 12 diode array will be developed. Subject will initiate the ‘black flash’, then try to indicate the position where the ‘black flash’ occurred. Correct responses speed the flash and errors slow it, so threshold will be determined automatically.
  2. The deliverable will be an automated inexpensive device for detecting and following brain damage.
  3. The device will have extensive application.  For just one example, it could be used to pre-test athletes before contact sports and again following head trauma.
  4. Team members are Dr. Enoch Callaway and Dr. Reese Jones, co-PIs and Emerita Prof. of Psychiatry who will be clinical trial investigators. In addition, Dr. Winthrop Williams, U.C. Berkeley, will be responsible for electronic development.
  5. Dr. Williams will devote 50% time until models are developed.  Then Drs. Callaway and Jones will devote time as subjects become available.  This could eventually involve full time


Certainly an intriguing project especially with the attention that concussions are receiving in pro football, however, this project seems primarily a bioengineering project. I'm having difficulty identifying the IT problems that are being addressed.

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