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Concussion reduction gel

Shock sensor releases gelling agent into fluid surrounding brain
  [vote for,

A concussion is the bruising of the brain caused when the brain hits the inside of the skull. Though the brain is well supported by the cerebral spinal fluid it is still vulnerable to damage caused by impacts. Rotational forces can also damage the brainstem.

My concept is to reduce these types of injuries by rapidly changing the viscosity of the fluid surrounding the brain. To do this I would implant a series of thin plastic strips along the inside on the skull. Each strip would contain a fast acting concentrated gelling agent; much like that made by the Hagfish. The strip would also contain a time-released enzyme specifically tailored to dissolve the gel. The system would be controlled with a microchip containing a series of accelerometers and would work just like an airbag bag system. When the sensors detected a shock or sudden rotational force capable of causing damage it would trigger the release of the gelling agent and time delayed dissolving enzyme.

Following information from Cortex Phatmaceuticals

Traumatic Brain Injury Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is an injury to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The injury is not degenerative or congenital in nature and is caused by an external physical force. There is a wide range of injuries with this disorder from mild, with only a brief loss of consciousness, to severe, resulting in life-long coma. The injury may be focal or diffuse, closed or penetrating. TBI is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults. People over the age of 75 have the highest rate of TBI, with falls being the main cause. Young adults have the next highest rate, with transportation being the most common cause. Finally, the third-highest rate of TBI is that of children under the age of 5 years, with their most common causes being falls and motor vehicle accidents. In the U.S., the prevalence of TBI is 5.3 million and there is an incidence of over 1.7 million cases per year.

duroncrush, Dec 23 2003

A Close Look at Hagfish Slime http://www.aip.org/...03/split/660-3.html
the concentrated slime expands rapidly into a sticky gel [duroncrush, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Contusions & Head Injuries http://www.brain-mi...m/Contusions66.html
Everything you ever wanted to know about brain injuries but were afraid to ask [duroncrush, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

In terms of gel, you might want to use this stuff http://www.nytimes..../health/23COMB.html
(as opposed, say, to hair gel.) [DrCurry, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

Traumatic Brain Injury http://www.halfbake...en and young adults
http://www.cortexpharm.com/html/research/areas.html#tbi [duroncrush, Oct 04 2004]


       Are helmets really that much of an inconvenience? This sounds like a great idea, but if the 'ol coconut doesn't stay in one piece, its not much good.
Letsbuildafort, Dec 23 2003

       it all hinges on *fast acting* - I think I would rather borrow Fort's hard hat!
po, Dec 23 2003

       I find it really hard to believe that anyone can come up with a device that injects fluid into the braincase that even comes close to being safe. Why not leave it outside? I'd go for a gel helmet.
DrCurry, Dec 23 2003

       As regards shock absorbtion, I am not sure gel is better than liquid. Both are incompressible. That said, I think this gel would be better administered prophylactically to persons at a high risk for brain shock - like boxers, for example. It would be given with a simple spinal tap.   

       [duroncrush] you are a humane philosopher in the best HB tradition. +.
bungston, Dec 23 2003

       // As regards shock absorbtion, I am not sure gel is better than liquid. //   

       But surely gel takes more force to deform, meaning it will absorb more of the impact energy.
kropotkin, Dec 23 2003

       Helmets can't prevent torque injuries to the brain stem. Even the best helmet will not prevent your brain from bouncing around inside of your skull. This would be used in conjunction with a helmet. This is not a matter of compressibility but of motion, viscosity and the transfer of kinetic energy. I am not suggesting injecting more fluid into the skull rather releasing a small amount gelling agent in to the fluid. The speed that the Hagfish's defensive mucus forms is incredibly fast. A Hagfish can turn transform an entire bucket of water in the blink of an eye. It’s been fast enough to protect them for millions of years. Also this is not something that anyone would get done only those at the most risk such as fighter pilots, racecar drivers, and stunt men etcetera.   

       Here is a simple experiment to demonstrate the desired effect. Take 2 identical bowls fill one with water place an ice cube in the center. Fill the other bowl with a thicker liquid maple syrup, a milk shake what ever. Put the first bowl on to a turntable and start it spinning see how long it takes for the ice cube to start sinning at the same speed. Repeat with the other.
duroncrush, Dec 23 2003

       hagfish ride motorbikes?
po, Dec 23 2003

       You're right on the whole helmet argument. "Even the best helmet will not prevent your brain from bouncing around inside of your skull." Right on. However, what horrific kind of accident would yield a brain stem torque injury injury? I imagine that if I were involved in a motorcycle accident (for example) in which I was wearing all of the appropriate saftey gear that any brain stem torquing injury wouldn't leave me with much of a productive life anyway. I've seen a few, [po].
Letsbuildafort, Dec 23 2003

       ... after all, there's always room for Jell-o.
thumbwax, Dec 24 2003

       You're making cannibalism sound pretty damn good, UnaBubba. So whats your beef with ketchup anyway? You evidently hold no qualms against custard. What about Tomato custard?
Letsbuildafort, Dec 24 2003

       Even if the fluid surrounding the brain gels, whats to stop the brain from compressing itself against the slime? I don't get it.   


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