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Brain cooling device could boost battlefield medicine

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A new device designed to cool the brain in cases of severe head impacts could be used to prevent long-term injuries amongst front-line soldiers.

ThermaHelm Brain-Cooling Technology could be adopted into military helmets before the end of 2010, helping to save thousands of soldiers from the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury each year.

Product developers Jullian Powers and Riccardo Anzil of ThermaHelm Limited created ThermaCap at the cutting-edge Sussex Innovation Centre in response to a call for medical improvements in battlefield medicine by the Centre for Defence Enterprise, the research arm of the Ministry of Defence.

ThermaCap® performs a number of tasks:

Uses endothermic energy to cool the brain and reduce the lasting effects of traumatic brain injury; and

Morphine infusion through the dermis through a unique gel layer mixed with anti-bacterial agents which respectively target pain sensors in the brain and blood splatter transfer and other injury site bacterium; and

Is insulated within the outer surface to keep the cold energy directed into the scalp of the injured; and

Is ballistic protective (Kevlar) on the outermost layer to prevent injuries from secondary blasts.

ThermaHelm technology performs like an instant ice pack when activated by sudden impact. It reduces brain swelling and the risk of long-term brain damage and gives medics vital extra minutes to perform life-saving skills.

The technology has been praised by the Government’s UK Trade and Investment division, which is working with the ThermaHelm™ team to reach international markets.

The device has been included in UKTI’s Global Entrepreneur Programme and will be promoted through 100 British embassies around the world.

Jullian Powers said: “We are confident ThermaCap can build on the effectiveness of ThermaHelm to help treat soldiers in action all over the world.

“It has long been recognised that neurological deterioration in trauma victims is dramatically reduced when a hypothermic state is induced.

“Medical practitioners have made use of this knowledge by deliberately inducing mild hypothermia in patients prior to emergency treatment or during surgical operations. It causes the body’s vital functions to slow down, thus reducing the chances of brain damage occurring in the patient.”

Jullian added that by taking these medical advances and applying them to the area of TBI (Traumatic Brian Injury) opened up a world of exciting new lifesaving opportunities.

The ThermaHelm™ team has been given great support by top dealmaker Eric Van Der Kleij

from UK Trade and Investment, the Government’s international business development organisation.

Derek Goodwin, Head of the Global Entrepreneurs Programme at UK Trade & Investment saw the potential of the invention years ago.

He said: “We are very impressed with the approach taken by Jullian Preston. Powers in developing his new brain cooling technology. We look forward to helping ThermaHelm reach global markets with their innovation and becoming a worldwide life saving advancement.”

ThermaHelm has been clandestinely developing its inventions for two years from an incubator base at the Sussex Innovation Centre in Brighton, East Sussex. The innovation centre is part of Sussex University and its director Mike Herd has given great support and guidance to the company’s technologies.

ThermaHelm’s Chief Technology Officer, Riccardo Anzil is also head of new products development at Innovation Stream and the inventor of a seatbelt airbag device designed to minimise the effects of seatbelts injuring passengers in high speed impacts.

The ThermaHelm™ team has been liaising with the University of Edinburgh, who are taking part in a Europe-wide study into brain cooling known as the EuroTherm3235 Trial.

How it Works:

Two light-weight and non-toxic chemical packs are integrated into the cap lining and have multiple trigger points that activate the cold pack.

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