Microwave helmet 'can spot a stroke'

The researchers say their device needs more testing, but could be a useful aid in the future.

Microwave helmet 'can spot a stroke'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Scientists say they have devised a helmet that can quickly determine whether a patient has had a stroke.

After the Swedish scientists made the device that can detect if a person is having a stroke, it was tested on 45 different paitents and the outcome was successful.

It could speed diagnosis and treatment of stroke to boost chances of recovery, the scientists say.

When a person has a stroke, doctors must work quickly to limit any brain damage. If it takes more than four hours to get to hospital and start treatment, parts of their brain tissue may already be dying.

A computerised tomography (CT) scan can show us whether there is a leaky blood vessle or a blood clot in the brain that is causing the stroke, but it can take some time to organise one for a patient.

To speed up the process, researchers in Sweden, from Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, have come up with a mobile device that could be used on the way to hospital.

It uses microwave signals - the same as the ones emitted by microwave ovens and mobile phones but much weaker - to build a picture of what is going on throughout the brain.

Tests with an early prototype - a refashioned bicycle helmet - found it could accurately distinguish between bleeds (haemorrhagic stroke) and clots (ischaemic stroke), although not 100% of the time.

The researchers say their device needs more testing, but could be a useful aid in the future.

Dr Shamim Quadir, of the UK's Stroke Association, said: "When a stroke strikes, the brain is starved of oxygen, and brain cells in the affected area die. Diagnosing and treating stroke as quickly as possible is crucial.

"While this research is at an early stage, it suggests that microwave-based systems may become a portable, affordable, technology that could help rapidly identify the type of stroke a patient has had, and get them treated faster.

"By diagnosing and treating stroke as early as possible, we can minimise the devastating impact of stroke, secure better outcomes for patients and, ultimately, save lives. Time lost is brain lost."

Last Mod: 18 Haziran 2014, 12:31
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