Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Proven Technology Detects mild-Traumatic Brain Injury in Combat

On October 12 at the International Conference on Behavioral Health and Traumatic Brain Injury, St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ, HeadMinder, Inc., presented results of the first Military IRB-approved prospective study to be conducted in-Theater.

The study compared the HeadMinder Cognitive Stability Index (CSI) computerized test battery and the Department of Defense (DoD) Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metric (ANAM) with the Repeatable Battery for Assessment of Neuropsychological Symptoms (RBANS), a paper-and-pencil neurocognitive test currently used by the DoD to screen soldiers.

The study was designed by Lt. Col. (sep.) Gerald Grant, MD (USAF), Maj. William Isler, PhD (USAF), Maj. Monty Baker, PhD (USAF), David Erlanger, PhD (Chief Scientific Officer and co-Founder of HeadMinder), Tanya Kaushik, PsyD, and Col. Robert Seegmiller (USAF). The objective was to determine the validity and reliability of both computerized screening measures as compared to the RBANS. The CSI was accurate in assessing the severity of cognitive compromise following concussive blast injuries. The CSI Total Score correlated very strongly with the RBANS Total Score (.789) and also showed strong concurrent validity with the RBANS in the domains of Attention (.706) and Memory (.680), domains critical in the assessment of blast-related concussion. ANAM was not useful for identifying memory problems, the domain most frequently impaired on the RBANS, and only a subset of ANAM measures seemed useful for screening attention problems.

The CSI is a 30-minute, Internet-based, computerized test that provides automated, objective measures of attention, memory, response speed, and processing speed for initial evaluation of cognitive functioning. The CSI produces standardized reports that enable triage and decision-making appropriate to a user's qualifications – from medic to neuropsychologist to neurologist and other treatment team members.

Dr. David Erlanger, Chief Scientific Officer of HeadMinder, commented, "The CSI has now been shown, under combat conditions, to be the only telemedicine tool capable of serving the needs of the armed services. Especially given the large backlog of unscreened service members exposed to blasts, the HeadMinder System offers a simple, accurate, and objective screening method that can play a key role in identifying and treating servicemen and servicewomen with undiagnosed brain injuries. The CSI is unique in its ability to track improvement over time as soldiers travel between the Military Health System and the Veterans Administration and civilian medical resources. We believe the HeadMinder platform provides the Department of Defense the opportunity to fully comply with the Wounded Warriors Act by screening and tracking exposed service members' long-term well-being. If implemented today, the entire backlog could be cleared in less than two years."

After 5 years of ducking the issue, the DoD can get off their collective bottoms and start screening the 400,000 troops that have been exposed to blasts in Iraq and Afghanistan. While the study in no way implied that every service member exposed suffered m-TBI, it did imply that approximately 20,000 service members have suffered the injury. It is time to identify them and treat them. There is no need for mindless dead-end research projects.

Since S. Ward Casscells, MD , Undersecretary of Defense - Healthcare, has actively and willfully avoided detecting and treating both m-TBI and mental health issues, it is time to contact your representatives to start getting answers (find your representative, find your senator). His desire to deny disability payments and under report causalities is repellent.

A special note if you are represented by any of the following members:

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Congressman Jack Murtha (D-PA)
Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ)
Congressman Todd Platts (R-PA)

make an effort to contact them as they have taken leading positions to help service members with mild-Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD and mental health issues.

The study was initially funded by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. After funding was discontinued, the study was completed with funding provided by PanMedix, Inc., and HeadMinder, Inc.

PanMedix was founded in New York City in 1999. Initially focused on the development and deployment of assessment software, the company has evolved to encompass a full range of pharmaceutical and medical assessment services.

Founded in New York City in 1999, HeadMinder is a technology company that is dedicated to the development of Internet-based neurocognitive assessment tools. HeadMinder tests have been shown to be valid and reliable instruments for evaluating cognitive deficits in a range of injuries and illnesses, including concussion, mild-to-moderate TBI, Multiple Sclerosis, ADHD, Alzheimer's Disease, and chemotherapy-induced cognitive dysfunction in cancer patients.

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