While scientists have made some strides in preventing immediate death from exposure, there are currently few intervention technologies to protect against long-term morbidity and mortality.
In light of the diverse, persistent and substantial threat posed by ionizing radiation, the Department of Defense seeks new ways to protect military and civilian personnel against the immediate and longer-term effects of acute exposure.
Exposure to ionizing radiation would be a particular concern in the aftermath of a large-scale release of nuclear material, such as might occur following either a natural disaster or a deliberate attack. The damage to Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactor after the 2011 Tohoku earthquake raised concerns regarding U.S. preparedness to treat large-scale human exposure to ionizing radiation. Additionally, the immediate destructive potential of nuclear and radiological weapons, as well as their long-term health and economic impacts, continue to be of concern to DoD.
DARPA seeks to gain a better understanding of the biophysical effects of acute exposure to ionizing radiation in humans and develop mitigating technologies to enable immediate and long-term survival.
This is what we call the “Magic School Bus” view of the flu. (Graphic provided by the CDC)
Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.
The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
* It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
The foam-based product developed by Arsenal Medical for DARPA can be injected into a wounded servicemember on the battlefield to slow blood loss until the patient can be transported to an appropriate medical facility.
The Department of Defense’s medical system aspires to a standard known as the “Golden Hour” that dictates that troops wounded on the battlefield are moved to advanced-level treatment facilities within the first 60 minutes of being wounded.
In advance of transport, initial battlefield medical care administered by first responders is often critical to injured servicemembers’ survival.
In the case of internal abdominal injuries and resulting internal hemorrhaging, however, there is currently little that can be done to stanch bleeding before the patients reach necessary treatment facilities; internal wounds cannot be compressed the same way external wounds can, and tourniquets or hemostatic dressings are unsuitable because of the need to visualize the injury. The resulting blood loss often leads to death from what would otherwise be potentially survivable wounds.
DARPA launched its Wound Stasis System program in 2010 in the hopes of finding a technological solution that could mitigate damage from internal hemorrhaging. The program sought to identify a biological mechanism that could discriminate between wounded and healthy tissue, and bind to the wounded tissue.
As the program evolved, an even better solution emerged: Wound Stasis performer Arsenal Medical, Inc. developed a foam-based product that can control hemorrhaging in a patient’s intact abdominal cavity for at least one hour, based on swine injury model data.
The foam is designed to be administered on the battlefield by a combat medic, and is easily removable by doctors during surgical intervention at an appropriate facility, as demonstrated in testing.
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Sepsis is an overwhelming blood infection, which when coupled with shock (such as that which may be experienced following a combat injury) has a mortality rate near 50 percent.
Current methods to identify and treat sepsis may take 48 hours or longer – resulting in increased recovery time from combat wounds and hundreds of preventable deaths.
In fall 2011, DARPA began research to limit the impact of sepsis on the U.S. warfighter through the Dialysis-Like Therapeutics (DLT) program. The goal of DLT is to demonstrate a portable device capable of sensing and removing various targets in the blood (e.g. bacteria, viruses, toxins, and cytokines) on clinically relevant time scales.
As pathogen load is strongly correlated with patient morbidity and mortality, early detection and rapid reduction is considered fundamental to program success and eventual clinical impact. Research to date has focused on advancing the components needed for such a device.
Today, DARPA announced a solicitation seeking integration of previously awarded DLT projects to develop sensors, complex fluid manipulation architectures, separation technologies and closed-loop control algorithms.
Water forms an interesting cyclonic twist as it is intentionally sucked into the test engine of a U.S. Air Force C-17 transport aircraft during the VIPR project engine health monitoring tests conducted by NASA Dryden. The water was contained on a special platform built by NASA Dryden's Fabrication Branch for the tests. (NASA / Tony Landis)
It might not surprise you to find cereal and crayons beneath your sofa cushions, especially if you are a parent with young children.
But what if you found them in a jet engine?
If you’re a NASA engineer, you might declare success in a test of new aircraft engine health monitoring technology designed to provide early warning of engine problems, including the destructive effect of volcanic ash.
NASA’s Aviation Safety Program is developing technology for improved sensors to help spot changes in vibration, speed, temperature and emissions which are symptomatic of engine glitches.
These advanced sensors could alert ground crews to problems that can be eliminated with preventive maintenance before becoming serious safety concerns.
Ultimately, the sensors could alert pilots to the presence of destructive volcanic ash particles too small for the eyes to see, giving more time for evasive action to prevent engine damage in flight. (more…)
What would you do if a Facebook friend updated that they were depressed and thinking of ending their life?
What would you do if you observed a group of individuals bullying another person on a social media site? Would your actions be the same if the person was a friend or a complete stranger?
Your answers to these questions may have important implications for how these scenarios turn out. Fortunately, there are resources in social media to help you reduce the risk for suicidal behavior and to get help.
Suicide is a serious but preventable public health problem. According to the World Health Organization, more than one million suicides occur in the world every year.
Social media, such as chat rooms, blogs, video sites like YouTube, and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, have become important ways that many people communicate and share information about a variety of topics, including suicide.
We are getting closer and closer to the laser beam, I can feel it. A military scientist operates a laser in a test environment. The United states Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Directed Energy Directorate conducts research on a variety of solid-state and chemical lasers. (U.S. Air Force)
I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.
The Navy…is getting LASER WEAPONS.
Okay, so it’s not right this second, but ONR is working to make it a reality. To help sailors defeat small boat threats and aerial targets without using bullets, the Office of Naval Research (ONR)wants to develop a solid-state laser weapon prototype that will demonstrate multi-mission capabilities aboard a Navy ship.
“We believe it’s time to move forward with solid-state lasers and shift the focus from limited demonstrations to weapon prototype development and related technology advancement,” said Peter Morrison, program officer of the Solid-State Laser Technology Maturation (SSL-TM) program.
ONR will host an industry day May 16 to provide the research and development community with information about the program. A Broad Agency Announcement is expected to be released thereafter to solicit proposals and bids.
The Navy’s long history of advancing directed-energy technology has yielded kilowatt-scale lasers capable of being employed as weapons. Among the programs, the Maritime Laser Demonstration developed a proof-of-concept technology that was tested at sea aboard a decommissioned Navy ship.
The demonstrator was able to disable a small boat target: (more…)