Athena GTX lands military contract for device to treat traumatic brain injuries
By Joe Gardyasz | Senior Staff Writer – The Insider Notebook
We’ve all experienced the “brain freeze” sensation that comes from downing a frozen drink too fast. Now a Des Moines technology company is developing a device for the U.S. military that will use a similar effect to treat traumatic brain injuries incurred in combat situations.
Athena GTX, which specializes in manufacturing wireless miniature medical monitors, has just landed its newest contract — a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research grant with the U.S. Marine Corps. Using that grant, the company will develop a miniaturized version of a device that does “intranasal cooling for encephalography prevention.”
As Athena GTX co-owner Mark Darrah explains it, the device uses two nasal tubes to infuse a specialized cooling liquid up into the sinuses to cool the injured brain and reduce the inflammatory response. The company has teamed up with researchers at Temple University in Philadelphia who have done some sophisticated modeling on animals. Now it’s his company’s task to shrink the existing device — which is about the size of three large suitcases — into a smaller version that a single medic can carry.