UC grads' innovative, portable stroke detection headband could be a lifesaver

A team of recent University of Cincinnati grads hope to commercialize a portable stroke detection device created in the Medical Device Innovation & Entrepreneurship Program (MDIEP) at UC's biomedical engineering department.

The device, Ischiban, has the potential to be a game-changer in the early detection and treatment of strokes, a life-threatening condition where minutes can make a difference in a successful recovery, disability or death.

Ischiban was developed by a group of UC student biomedical and computer engineers and an industrial designer: Pooja Kadambi, Joe Lovelace, Scott Robinson and Alex Androski. They developed the device, comprised of an elastic headband connected to an electronic diagnostic device, which can quickly determine the type of stroke a patient is suffering from. This allows for quick diagnosis and faster treatment for better recovery rates, according to the developers.

Ischiban relies on Impedance Spectroscopy, which can measure electrical property changes in the brain associated with strokes.

"We received the idea to use Impedance Spectroscopy from a group in Massachusetts General Hospital doing research in this area. We developed the device, made prototypes of the parts and built it by ourselves," explained Kadambi, a biomedical engineer.

Strokes are caused by a blood clot in the brain, or bleeding in the brain. Treatment is different based on the type of stroke.

Currently, such stoke differentiation is done by a CT scan, which is costly and time consuming. Ischiban can be used by EMTs at a patient's home or during the ambulance ride. Early detection is important because patients whose stoke is caused by a blood clot who are treated within three hours of symptoms are significantly more likely to survive and recover.

Ischiban is one of 90 entries in the ongoing Cincinnati Innovates contest. The third annual competition offers nearly $90,000 in prizes designed to push forward groundbreaking products and services. It ends July 15, and all entries are posted online. Kadambi said the competition could help Ischiban garner attention and investment.

"Medical device research and development is an expensive, complicated and long drawn out process. We are a passionate team but do not have the funds to carry this forward alone. Winning this competition would open doors for us, help us make great contacts and keep our project alive and on track. Putting Ischiban on the market will help save lives and prevent disability globally and that is a fact," she said.

Writer: Feoshia Henderson
Source: Pooja Kadambi, Ischiban co-developer

You can follow Feoshia on Twitter @feoshiawrites 
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