FDA clears app to monitor brain health on the battlefield

Courtesy of AnthroTronix

After being tested in Afghanistan for use in military settings, the FDA has cleared the DANA (Defense Automated Neurobehavioral Assessment) mobile assessment tool for measuring reaction time. Reaction time can be a sign of brain injuries that are common on the battlefield such as concussion, dementia, post-traumatic stress and depression, says product developer AnthroTronix.

"In essence, measuring reaction time is like taking the temperature of the brain--like a 'Brain Thermometer'--and it is a vital part of the data that a health professional needs to evaluate their patient," said AnthroTronix CEO Corinna Lathan in a statement.

The app will be offered on the Android and iOS operating systems over either mobile phone or tablet. AnthroTronix says the tool's mobility allows it be used soon after events such as exposure to an improvised explosive device bomb blast.

The company told MobiHealthNews that the the product also tests for memory and spatial processing. In addition to the military, AnthroTronix also believes DANA could have applications for sports medicine, and the product is being tested in clinical settings as well.

"With the steady growth of the mHealth movement, technology that has evidence and science-based functionality is critical," said AnthroTronix science adviser Dr. Murali Doraiswamy of Duke University Medical Center in a statement.

DANA was developed with funding from the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and an award from the Army to evaluate the health of deployed military members, the company says. Indeed, the government is mounting a push to study brain injuries among military members and hopes the benefits spill over to civilians as well. Most notable is the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's $40 million Restoring Active Memory initiative focused on neural implants.

Anthrotronix makes a variety of advanced interface technology and wearable computing and robotic control systems, such as the gesture-recognizing AcceleGlove.

- read the release (PDF)
- here's the MobiHealthNews article

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