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Business Innovation to tackle Brain Injury

Innovate UK have recently awarded £15.4M in grants to 60 projects including an interesting award to one project by Cortirio which aims to provide mobile brain scanning technology to enable rapid on-site diagnosis in the hope that the extent of injury can be minimised: faster diagnosis results in faster treatment which in turn means that more brain function is preserved.

Anyone who has been in an MRI scanner or seen one in operation will know that it is a huge machine. The new technology being promoted by Cortirio is a functional near infrared spectroscopy [fNIRS]. Brain activity is measured via hemodynamic responses associated with neuron behaviour.

No I don't understand it either but apparently skin, bone and tissue are near transparent to NIR light in the correct spectrum. That allows blood flow within the brain to be measured and problems detected up to 4 cm's in depth.

When current advice for many minor head injuries is to 'wait and see' it seems to me that making this technology mobile and training paramedics and first responders to routinely scan when they are faced with a history of head injury could lead to significant gains in that category of case where there is delayed onset of symptoms due to, perhaps, a subdural haematoma?

I have been involved in one such case very recently involving a young man left sitting in A&E for approximately 3 hours before repeated vomiting mobilised the staff into urgent action. There is no suggestion that under current guidelines they did anything other than protocol dictates but it occurs to me that there is a chance that the consequences for that young man could have been ameliorated if this new technology had been approved and readily available?   A little bit about Innovate UK

Designed to drive productivity and growth by supporting businesses to realise the potential of new technologies, develop ideas and make them a commercial success.   Since 2007 Innovate UK have committed over £1.8 billion to innovation, matched by a similar amount in partner and business funding. They have helped 8,000 organisations with projects estimated to add more than £16 billion to the UK economy and create nearly 70,000 jobs.

They run live funding competitions which continue until their published closing dates. They have up to £19 million to invest in the best ideas in the four priority areas of emerging and enabling technologies, health and life sciences, infrastructure systems and manufacturing and materials. Applications should be for game-changing innovative ideas that will lead to new products, processes or services ahead of the field in any sector of the economy.  Specifically in terms of healthcare Innovate UK are of the view that innovation will be fueled by new technologies from bioscience and medical research.

The age of bioscience – interesting times!


For more information, please contact Ian Slater, Partner on 0161 603 5066 or email Ian.slater@dwf.law.





This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.