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Archive for the ‘Medical’ Category

Engineered Viruses Could Protect Soldiers, Fight Antibiotic Resistance

Friday, October 11th, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — Antibiotic resistance is a one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. Army scientists have developed a new weapon to combat super-bugs, which could protect Soldiers and fight resistance.

Bacteriophage, a virus that infects and replicates within bacteria, kill bacteria through different mechanisms than antibiotics, and they can target specific strains, making them an appealing option for potentially overcoming multidrug resistance. However, quickly finding and optimizing well-defined bacteriophages to use against a bacterial target is challenging.

Researchers at the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, identified a way to do just that. The U.S. Army established the institute in 2002 as an interdisiciplinary research center to dramatically improve protection, survivability and mission capabilities of the Soldier and of Soldier-supporting platforms and systems.

“This is a crucial development in the battle against these superbugs,” said Dr. James Burgess, program manager, Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, Army Research Office, an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Army Research Laboratory. “Finding a cure for antibiotic-resistant bacteria is particularly important for soldiers who are deployed to parts of the world where they may encounter unknown pathogens or even antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Wounded Soldiers are even more susceptible to infections, and they may come home carrying these drug-resistant bugs.”

In this study, published in Cell, MIT biological engineers showed that they could rapidly program bacteriophages to kill different strains of E. coli by making mutations in a viral protein that binds to host cells. The results showed that these engineered bacteriophages are also less likely to provoke resistance in bacteria.

“As we’re seeing in the news more and more now, bacterial resistance is continuing to evolve and is increasingly problematic for public health,” said Timothy Lu, an MIT associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science and of biological engineering and the study’s senior author. “Phages represent a very different way of killing bacteria than antibiotics, which is complementary to antibiotics, rather than trying to replace them.”

The researchers created several engineered phages that could kill E. coli grown in the lab. One of the newly created phages was also able to eliminate two E. coli strains that are resistant to naturally occurring phages from a skin infection in mice.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a handful of bacteriophages for killing harmful bacteria in food, but they have not been widely used to treat infections because finding naturally occurring phages that target the right kind of bacteria can be a difficult and time-consuming process.

To make such treatments easier to develop, Lu’s lab has been working on engineered viral scaffolds that can be easily repurposed to target different bacterial strains or different resistance mechanisms.

“We think phages are a good toolkit for killing and knocking down bacteria levels inside a complex ecosystem, but in a targeted way,” Lu said.

The researchers wanted to find a way to speed up the process of tailoring phages to a particular type of bacteria. They came up with a strategy that allows them to rapidly create and test a much greater number of tail fiber variants.

They created phages with about 10 million different tail fibers and tested them against several strains of E. coli that had evolved to be resistant to the non-engineered bacteriophage. One way that E. coli can become resistant to bacteriophages is by mutating LPS receptors so that they are shortened or missing, but the MIT team found that some of their engineered phages could kill even strains of E. coli with mutated or missing LPS receptors.

The researchers plan to apply this approach to target other resistance mechanisms used by E. coli and to develop phages that can kill other types of harmful bacteria.

“Being able to selectively hit those non-beneficial strains could give us a lot of benefits in terms of human clinical outcomes,” Lu said.

The Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies engages in fundamental, multidisciplinary nanoscience research relevant to the Soldier. In collaboration with Army and industrial partners, this focused nanoscience research creates opportunities for new materials, properties and phenomena that will directly advance modernization efforts. As an Army University-Affiliated Research Center, the institute’s contract is administered and overseen for the U.S. Army by the Army Research Office.


The CCDC Army Research Laboratory is an element of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command. As the Army’s corporate research laboratory, ARL discovers, innovates and transitions science and technology to ensure dominant strategic land power. Through collaboration across the command’s core technical competencies, CCDC leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more effective to win our Nation’s wars and come home safely. CCDC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

Ops-Core Special Operations Tactical Respirator

Wednesday, October 9th, 2019

The Ops-Core Special Operations Tactical Respirator, or SOTR, is a half mask particulate respirator designed to provide the highest level of protection against a wide range of harmful contaminants while still allowing for normal use of weapons systems and other mission-critical equipment. The front-mounted filter allows for quick, one-handed filter changes and enhanced the field of vision. Easily adjustable suspension straps, head harness, velcro straps, and optional O2 strap allows the user to configure their respiratory protection to their exact mission or environment. The SOTR integrates seamlessly with NVGs and other tactical gear, such as the Ops-Core FAST SF Ballistic Helmet, AMP Communication Headset, and Mk1 Performance Protective Eyewear, to create a customizable protective head borne system.


US Army Medics Jump With Plasma, Test New Lifesaving Delivery Method

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — According to U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, bleeding is the leading case of death on the battlefield. When service members receive serious wounds, they are often transported to a surgical team for treatment. These casualties often suffer from severe blood loss due to the inability of their blood to clot normally, which represent approximately 40 percent of combat casualties.

The USAMRMC says frozen blood is currently the standard for treatment. But due to technical and logistical limitations, the demand for a more transportable plasma product with the same hemostatic properties grew.

The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity, along with a partner company, are testing transportation methods to deliver freeze dried plasma, or FDP, to address this issue and increase the survival rate of wounded Soldiers.

New Roads, Louisiana native Cpt. Robert Crochet, a primary medical test officer, and an Army Medical Department Board – alongside medical personnel assigned to the 432nd Blood Support Detachment, 44th Med. Brigade at Fort Bragg – are testing FDP’s ability to be transported safely and quickly using means that were previously dismissed due to risk of breakage.

Currently used is French frozen plasma, which is contained inside glass tubes, unlike the new FDP, which is sealed inside a ready-to-use bag along with a 250ml bag of sterile water for injection and rehydrating. These are then stored inside a hard plastic sheath designed to protect the product during transport.

For the test mission, Soldiers of the 432nd BSD rehydrated the FDP and packaged it, then waited for transportation by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. The airborne Soldiers from Fort Bragg then jumped out of the Chinook with the plasma packed in their bags. Upon landing, Crochet and his team inspected the containers and the FDP for signs of damage. They reported their findings to members of the research and development teams for on-sight data collection.

“Tourniquets helped in enhancing survivability for our war fighters, but it’s blood that keeps them alive,” said Col. Roberto E. Marin, material systems branch chief, AMEDD Board.

According to USAMRMC, there is no current method to supply troops in the battlefield with FFB; it has to be maintained by role 2 medical facilities, advanced trauma management and emergency medical treatment, with the ability to freeze and store the blood at constant temperatures. Medical teams operating in a Role 1, unit-level medical care, do not have the ability to store FFB, thus limiting treatment available for wounded Soldiers, according to USAMRMC officials.

Another disadvantage with FFB is the amount of time required to prepare the blood for use on wounded soldiers.

“Currently FFB takes roughly thirty minutes to thaw for surgical use,” Crochet. “With freeze dried plasma, it takes roughly 1-6 minutes to rehydrate and become ready to administer to the casualty. Those minutes can be the difference in life or death.”

Currently FDP and it’s airborne delivery method is still in the testing phase.

By SGT Brian Micheliche

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Cramps

Sunday, September 29th, 2019

When you are doing a long dive there is a good chance that you are going to get a cramp. Cramping can happen for several reasons. Being dehydrated, diving for a couple of weeks straight or even you haven’t dove in a while. Most of the time you try and straightening out your leg that has the cramp while only kicking with your good leg, you try and grab your fin and stretch it out while keeping up with your swim buddy. Cramping occurs in the calves, hamstring, quadriceps, thighs and the feet—mainly due to the finning action that causes muscle fatigue and triggers muscle spasm. But mostly in diving, you get a cramp in your upper and lower calf from pointing your toes while you are diving.

So, what can you do to stop this from happening?

• Replace old equipment if it doesn’t fit you properly, it can cause feet related cramps. So that favorite pair of fins you stole when you were in training should be retired, hang them on your wall in your garage.

• Check the foot pockets of your fins to make sure your feet are comfortable enough and that there is sufficient room for them to move a bit. So, make sure your fins fit all the boots/footwear you are going to use, you might use a large in the summer but in the winter when you are wearing thicker boots or a dry suit you might need bigger fins. That also goes for shoes, like Vans or LALO’s that you might wear when doing a dive where you will need to have shoes on for climbing or good traction. You might have a size 10 for summer and a 12 for winter, so you can add insulation.

• Make sure you are using the right type of fin for the kick you use. Make sure the stiffness and surface area of your fins’ blades are what you need. Fins are designed for different types of kicks; Jet fins are great for a power kick or a frog kick, Seawing Nova’s are made to be great for propulsions with not as much effort as saying a jet fin. Also, look at the stiffness. There are two types of Seawing Nova. The Seawing Nova and the Seawing Nova Gorillas. The Gorillas are a stiffer fin, and they are great for a working diver or someone in good shape. So, pick the right one for the job you are doing and the environment you will be in.


• Your footwear should not be too tight as this will restrict circulation and bone movement in your foot. If you are diving in the winter and you add a dive sock to your booties to keep you warm, what you are doing is restricting your circulation, and that will make you cold and cause cramps. If you want to add layers have different sizes booties.

• The strap should not bite into the back of your heels too tightly, pushing on your Achilles tendon. This can happen if your footwear is too big and you are shoving your foot in and barely getting your strap around you heal or you are afraid you will lose your fin, so you pull the strap really tight. Something that could help with this is a self- adjusting fin, like a bungee strap or a steel spring. This will help keep the right pressure on your heel.  


Cramping generally affects people that have taken a long break from finning. I say finning and not diving because you don’t have to dive to fin. So, like all of your other skills, shooting, moving, and communicating. You need to practice finning, so you stay in finning shape. You should try and swim a couple of times a week and do it with fins on. When you are at the gym, don’t just do arms. Do functional workouts that include a lot of exercises for your calves and strengthening the specific muscle groups that cramp when diving. Also try and include foot flexing exercises, as one of the other reasons for cramping is your feet are not used to being pointed for long periods of time, as I mentioned above. I know a lot of groups are getting back into the water but are still living in the desert. So, when you have the chance try and get back into the water or into the gym.  

Tac Shield Introduces The TQ Med MOLLE Pouch

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

Pinehurst, NC -TAC SHIELD® is introducing the new “TQ Med Molle Pouch”, a small quick access pouch designed to hold a tourniquet, trauma shears, gloves and more.  

Made from rugged 1000D Cordura®, this low profile, life-saving equipment pouch is carefully designed to carry critical trauma supplies for emergency situations in the field or on the range. The TQ Med Molle Pouch allows quick access to all emergency tools through both an outside pocket for trauma shears and a quick access pull handle to the inside where a tourniquet, gloves, pharyngeal tubes or other medical supplies can be securely held using a heavy duty elastic strap and pocket.  The TQ Med Molle Pouch is designed to keep supplies organized and accessible without the bulkiness of some traditional medical pouches. The front of the pouch is clearly marked with a red cross and TQ, ensuring fellow warfighters can clearly identify the contents of this emergency pouch without opening it for fast life-saving response. Available in black or coyote. Recommended Retail $29.99.


For more information on TAC SHIELD products, check out your leading Sporting Goods, Tactical, or Military Retailer or find them at www.tacshield.com.

Army Researchers Look for New Signs of TBIs in Soldiers

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Researchers from the Phelps Health Medical Center in Rolla, Missouri, performed clinical testing on 35 Soldiers in the Urban Mobility Breacher Course at Fort Leonard Wood last week to determine if there are repeatedly present biological signs after traumatic brain injury, or TBI.

Officials said Soldiers in the UMBC were chosen as subjects due to their training, which requires them to endure concussive blasts, using light and heavy explosives to force entrance into otherwise inaccessible structures.

Medical personnel are searching for these signs, named biomarkers, through blood samples, urinalysis, and a new portable, cell-phone sized form of electroencephalogram, or EEG, called “BrainScope.”

Rosanne Naunheim, a Neurologist at Washington University in St. Louis ran BrainScope on Soldiers before and after their participation in the course this week.

“[The device] can diagnose if there’s most likely been previous concussive brain injury,” said Donald James, senior vice president of research and government affairs at Phelps Health.

“Before [Soldiers] have blast exposure with larger blasts, we’re doing EEGs and drawing blood work,” he said. He confirmed the researchers would return after the training to test for biomarker indication of TBI.

According to Naunheim, BrainScope determines likelihood of previous TBI by measuring the speed at which an electrical signal travels from the brain to the electrodes in the device and back to the brain, and then comparing subjects’ results against normal scores for their age range.

“We’re noticing a lot of people start with fairly low scores here (at the fort), because they may have had blast injuries in the past,” Naunheim said.

On a scale of 0 to 100, with 50 being normal, “We’re seeing quite a few people that have scores 0 to 10 even, which is quite low.”

Matthew Doellman, who spent 13 years in the Army, saw combat as a trauma nurse in the Middle East, and worked at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, now serves as director of the Phelps Health program leading the research being done on base.

He said based on his experiences, the new EEG device is “without a doubt” critical to preserving the fighting capability of the force.

“When I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, we didn’t have a CAT scan machine,” which, he said, can be too large, expensive and slow to provide results in a forward operating environment.

Phelps Health officials agreed on the field application of the new device.

“This can be done in the field,” James said. “This technology could be right there in the medic station at the Forward Operating Base in any battle center.”

“The reason why that’s important is because a lot of times when you’re in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theatres of operation, as a unit commander you’re trying to make these determinations; ‘Do I need to send my medevac pilots out in this bad weather because this Soldier, we think he needs help,'” Doellman added.


Testing for TBI indicators through urinalysis began five years ago, after doctors discovered that multiple types of cancer could be diagnosed through biomarkers present in urine, according to James.

“I think we’re in the infancy of major breakthrough in, one, diagnosis of traumatic brain injury; and two, then coming up with innovative treatments that mitigate permanent (brain) damage,” he said, referring to this research as unprecedented.

Researchers said that if they found repeated presence of TBI biomarkers in the blood and urine, combined with results from the portable EEG, Soldiers and their commanders could see mitigation of permanent brain damage.

“[With] the research we’re doing today, hopefully the Soldier of the future will have less problems with TBI, and then they’ll live longer lives without any kind of detriment because of a blast or some kind of concussive event,” Doellman said.

The research conducted at Fort Leonard Wood is part of an Army Surgeon General-signed cooperative effort among researchers from Phelps Health Medical Center and four universities: Missouri University of Science and Technology, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri at Columbia and University of Missouri at Kansas City.

By Sam Campbell, Leonard Wood

Project Black – Tactical Respirator

Thursday, September 26th, 2019

The Tactical Respirator is designed to protect from respiratory lead exposure in training environments. It will also protect from dust and particulates while breaching or in other dusty environments.

It uses replaceable electrostatic filters which are 98.6% effective and block airborne contaminates down to 0.1 microns. The seal is medical grade silicone.

It can be worn with eyepro and NVGs thanks to downward facing exhaust valves to prevent fogging.

The Tactical Respirator is available from Millbrook Tactical.

DSEI 19 – Electronically Enabled Textiles With Integrated Sensor Systems by Propel, LLC

Friday, September 13th, 2019

Propel developed Electronically Enabled Textiles with Integrated Sensor Systems for a US Navy Small Business Innovative Research Project to create wearable garments with embedded to monitor life signs of Navy SEALs while using submersibles.

What makes their technology different from others on the market is that they actually knit the sensors and cabling into the garment, unlike others who sew the sensors and cabling into the garments. Propel’s solution is more comfortable, durable and washable.