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UCLA Investing in Analytics for Brain Injury Treatment

March 13, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) has announced its investing in analytics software from the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant IBM, which will test the effectiveness of a real-time alarm that tries and predicts rising brain pressure in patients with traumatic brain injuries. Also joining this collaboration is and Excel Medical Electronics (EME), a Jupiter, Fla.-based data acquisition platform provider.

The system analyzes streams of vital signs collected in real-time from the bedside monitor to spot subtle changes in the patient's pulse, blood and intracranial pressure, heart activity, and respiration. This would signal that dangerous high-risk increases in brain pressure are on the way. The system could allow the nurse or physician to determine if the alarm is false, if the condition is life-threatening, or if immediate action is needed to prevent brain damage or death.

UCLA will be conducting a study on this technology and its effectiveness. Researchers are looking to provide advance warning to physicians and nurses of pending changes in the patient's condition, which would allow for preventive actions from practitioners. UCLA's Department of Neurosurgery was awarded a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke to study intracranial pressure and develop a predictive alarm system.

"We believe that UCLA's promising research may one day transform the way that doctors and nurses interact with patients inside the neuro-intensive care unit,” Martin Kohn, MD, chief medical scientist, IBM Research, said in a statement.

In a similar vein, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) health system recently announced a five-year, $100 million enterprise healthcare analytics initiative to foster personalized medicine and other core strategic healthcare IT goals for the organization, partnering with several prominent vendors—Oracle, IBM, Informatica, and dbMotion.

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