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Concussion “Breathalyzers” Technology

Dec 10, 2014 | Alcohol Injury

Concussion “Breathalyzer” Research Underway

The Breathalyzer is a well-known law enforcement tool used to detect drunk drivers. If you have not had the experience personally, you probably know someone who has been stopped at a roadblock or pulled over by police and asked to blow into the device that measures blood alcohol content.

Researchers are examining whether this technology can detect concussions in athletes within a few minutes after a head injury, according to a BBC News article. Scientists presented this research at the British Science Festival in September.

If you’ve been injured by a drunk driver, don’t hesitate to contact the Alabama DUI accident lawyers with Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. immediately.

How Could a Breathalyzer Detect a Concussion?

A damaged brain produces certain biochemical compounds that can be measured in various bodily fluids, including saliva and the breath, according to Tony Belli, a neurosurgeon, and medical researcher. A concussion triggers telltale chemical signs in the victim’s bloodstream.

Breathalyzers are currently designed for detecting alcohol. According to the BBC article, Professor Belli indicated these devices could be re-engineered to detect other chemicals that signal a brain injury. Researchers need to refine the technology to detect these chemicals. If these adaptations are made, Professor Belli anticipates detecting concussions within 5 to 10 minutes after a head injury.

What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic injury to the brain that alters the way a brain functions. A concussion is often caused by a blow to the head, but can also result from a violent shaking of your head and upper body. A brain can be injured when it slides back and forth violently against the inside of a person’s skull. Symptoms are usually temporary and can include one or more of loss of consciousness, headaches, sensitivity to light, problems with memory and concentration, and loss of balance and coordination. Sometimes nausea and vomiting accompany a concussion.

Symptoms may appear immediately or are delayed by days or weeks. Some individuals don’t realize that they have suffered a concussion, especially if they don’t lose consciousness. Some individuals may experience unexplained mood swings and feelings of irritability. To heal properly, a concussed individual needs time to rest. For further questions, contact the concussions injury lawyers with Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today.

Potential Medical Advantages of a Concussion Breathalyzer

An MRI is the standard optimal method currently used to diagnose a concussion. However, MRI scans usually cannot be performed during a game alongside a field, court or ice rink, or in the locker room. Instead, whether an athlete should return to play after a head injury is usually determined by waiting periods and psychological examinations. Unfortunately, these methods are not always reliable.

The importance of a correct decision on returning to play after a head injury cannot be overestimated. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury, which can significantly damage the quality of a victim’s life. Returning to play too soon after this type of injury could have serious long-term consequences, and a wrong call could be tragic for the athlete who suffered the injury.

Police officers administer breath tests roadside every day. An accurate brain injury test with that level of portability could significantly diminish the incidence of athletes returning to play after a concussion with potentially devastating results.

How a Concussion Injury Lawyer from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. Can Help

With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our Alabama injury lawyers will quickly travel to investigate the details of your case and may be able to help you obtain compensation for your damages.