The statistics are disturbing: Up to half the people who have bleeding in the brain due to head trauma will die within a month.
Sometimes it's a stroke or a concussion and it can happen to the elderly, soldiers, abuse victims or athletes.
That's why new technology being developed right here in the islands could one day save countless lives.
"Effectively we still have the same treatment we've had for a 1000 years. We do a burr hole to release the pressure in the skull," said Dr. Tom Hasling of Oceanit in Honolulu, who talked to KITV reporter Lara Yamada about treating bleeding in the brain.
Take what happened to Damien High School Quarterback Alan Mohika: after a concussion he was badly traumatized.
He quit football and will never be the same.
Or take the death of Actress Natasha Richardson: she got a concussion from skiing.
Friends said she seemed fine, but a short time later she died from what doctors couldn't catch soon enough.
"It remains undiagnosed until they get to the hospital so the paramedic doesn't even have any tools to deal with this," said Hasling.
But he came up with a revolutionary way to treat the injury.
"We're able to target the artery without damaging the brain underlying it," he said.
It's called LATCH technology. A laser that can pass through skin, skull and tissue, and pick out the damaged and bleeding arteries.
Then, it can cauterize or clamp those arteries, effectively stopping the damage. And they can do it without a single incision.
"We successfully stopped the blood flow and we did it successfully 100 percent of the time," said Hasling.
This is called an impact sensing helmet and if you take a look inside it has these sensors that detect the direction and strength of an impact so medics can tell almost immediately how bad a head injury might be.
This technology could easily be ported into sports equipment, bicycle helmets or football helmets.
Right now, it's being tested for the military. Head trauma is huge problem for soldiers on the battlefield.
But, one day, Hasling said, it will help those off the battlefield, of all ages.
"The potential for this is I could see it in every ambulance and in every emergency room," said Hasling.
Oceanit's having great success with treating those arteries feeding the lining of the brain.
They're also testing arteries deep in the brain.
And that, has the potential to one day significantly reduce the damage done by strokes.
Local invention helps with brain trauma
Technology could be commercial, medical breakthroughUPDATED 6:00 PM HST Feb 03, 2012
The statistics are disturbing: Up to half the people who have bleeding in the brain due to head trauma will die within a month.Recommended