When Heads Come Together
When Heads Come Together shines a light on the journey to overcome various longstanding scientific mysteries, including the elusive scourge of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), potentially rescuing contact sports, and saving the brains of our warfighters. “Why don’t clever people solve Traumatic Brain Injury?” was the question asked of David Smith MD (“DrDave”) by a member of the 2008 Army Research. Fifteen years, 40 patents, and 25 journal publications later, Smith has pioneered “SLOSH Theory™,“ which explains how Nature’s highly G-tolerant creatures, such as woodpeckers, giraffes, and head-ramming sheep can tolerate, and even thrive, in settings typified by countless head impacts. Moreover, this theory discloses the different means that the Natural World has bestowed on animals to raise the fluid volume of the cranial vault, thereby creating a “tighter fit” around the brain inside the cranium, not unlike bubble wrap, which results in reduced energy absorption from impacts and explosions. Smith’s tagline, Nature Is My MentorTM, says it all.
Smith’s chemistry, physics, and medical background helped him uncover and understand these clever physiological and anatomical adaptations in the animal kingdom. This led to the creation of multiple new principles and medical devices designed to alleviate human suffering. For example, much of the book’s early chapters revolve around the creation of the First and Only medical device, the Q-Collar™, recently authorized by the FDA as being safe and effective for protection against Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Within a year of launch, and at the time of this writing, more than 20 NFL professionals had adopted the Q-Collar. Illustrating the world’s anticipation of this technology, within 48 hours of the FDA’s press release, the Q-Collar received more than 350 million hits on social media.
The book’s foreword was written by esteemed neurosurgeon Julian Bailes MD, a long-time consultant to the NFL Players Association and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the Chicago-based North Shore University Health System. Smith and Bailes co-authored the landmark study “Internal Jugular Vein Compression Mitigates Traumatic Axonal Injury by Reducing the Intracranial Slosh Effect.” In this animal study, they found that jugular compression reduced the “Signature Injury Pattern” of TBI by 83 percent—this in a world where the researchers had told him that no one had yet to demonstrate a means of reducing brain damage by as little as one percent!
The story doesn’t end there. With publication and confirmation of the author’s theoretical principles at the Walter Reed National Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital) and completion of a successful study of 30 SWAT officers (half with Q-Collars) during “Breacher training” (literally blowing up a condemned bank in Cincinnati), the Q-Collar team partnered with the US Army Medical Material Development Activity’s Warfighter Brain Health Project Management Office. Ultimately, this effort resulted in the launch of “the Q-Collar Tactical™” for military and first responder use.
As the book unfolds, readers are introduced to yet another novel technology, the SAGE Rebreather™. It is poised to reverse early TBI and revolutionize sleep and breathing disorders such as sleep apnea and altitude sickness. Like the Q-Collar, the inspiration for this technology was born from studying how animals evolved to maintain their edge in a competitive and dangerous world. Readers are given a close-up view of the complexities of innovation and development of these devices, from conception to academic review to traversing the barriers of the regulatory environment.
The backdrop of the arduous process of discovery, vetting, design, and delivery of novel medical product development runs deep throughout this book as the reader gets introduced to an impressive collection of industrial designers, artists, biomechanical engineers, and marketing executives.