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June 2016 - Issue 7
Welcome to the Battelle Health & Analytics, a quarterly publication from Battelle. We put this together as a service to our public health clients, to keep you informed of the latest public health news from our researchers and the industry.
The Battelle Health & Analytics team works with agencies and healthcare institutions to advance public health research, practice and policy with the latest science and technology. Battelle Health and Analytics will keep you up-to-date on cutting edge research and public health innovations.
The moments following a traumatic injury are surreal. One minute, life is normal; the next, everything pivots to a new reality. This is especially true in the military, when battlefield wounds happen in a blink. Sometimes, military injuries are even worse because the tools to help save severely injured limbs can be as rudimentary as plastic wrap or water-soaked bandages.
Now, Battelle and Halyard Health are working on a $14.4 million, four-year contract awarded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) to produce a medical device that can help improve the odds of saving as much tissue as possible. The product also can have a profound effect on traumatic injuries in the civilian world.
Known as the Acute Care Cover for Severely Injured Limbs (ACCSIL) project, the contract calls for the development of a conformal cover that protects the injured limb while providing a therapeutic cocktail that mitigates damage and promotes tissue survival. “It will be carried by the corpsman and medics and administered at the point of injury on the battlefield,” said Dr. Tim Bentley, ONR’s Program Manager. “It will be designed to be lightweight and keep the wound fresh and maintain tissue condition for up to 72 hours, which is particularly important as we plan for future scenarios where prolonged field care will be required.”
Battelle’s intended device will integrate highly effective active medical ingredients, enhanced wound dressing materials and the healing power of oxygen into a small, convenient, lightweight package that can be used in conjunction with a tourniquet.
“When a limb is severely injured, the best practice is to encase it as-is and get it to a surgical theater as fast as possible,” said Joe Berger, Vice President in Battelle’s Consumer, Industrial and Medical Technologies group. “Believe it or not, what’s being used now to address such injuries actually promotes the growth of harmful microorganisms and necrotic tissue. With this project for ONR, we can make something much, much better. And it’ll have plenty of applications in the civilian world.”
The Battelle Protective Oxygenating Wrap for Enhanced Recovery (POWER) is light, portable and will provide an environment that suppresses microbe proliferation and also promotes tissue health by delivering O2, thereby improving recovery time and quality of life of the traumatically injured soldier.
“Successful development of this system will provide military medics a solution currently unavailable to them,” said Kelly Jenkins, a Director of Battelle’s Advanced Materials group. “Today, they have to improvise. This device will be so much better.”
Aside from warfare, urban violence and domestic terrorism present a real need for first-responders to have access to such a product. “The best example that comes to mind is the Boston Marathon bombings a few years ago,” said Jenkins. “Unfortunately, this probably won’t be the last example of such an occurrence. Battelle has the solution to improve the medical treatment in such a case.”
The ACCSIL project will begin with design concepts already in development and progress through the prototype stage by late 2017.
This is the second time recently that Battelle has developed a medical device for the government. In 2013, Battelle experts and a team of subcontractors began work on $23 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project to produce a device that will be used to treat sepsis.
Battelle NeuroLife™ patient Ian Burkhart made international headlines in June 2014 when he became the first paralyzed patient to use Battelle’s innovative neural bypass technology to pick up and hold a spoon using his own thoughts. Two years later, he’s in the headlines again. A recent publication in Nature details Ian’s progress and study results.
The new study, “Restoring Cortical Control of Functional Movement in a Human with Quadriplegia,” details his current level of function, which consists of picking up objects, stirring liquids and even playing a video game.
Ian’s story has gained national attention with the release of the study results. He was featured on CBS This Morning and shared his story at the South by Southwest (SxSW) Conference in Austin, Texas in March.
Battelle NeuroLife is a pioneering technology that allows paralyzed patients to control their hands, fingers and wrists using their thoughts. A chip implanted in the brain listens to and transmits signals from the motor cortex. These signals are interpreted using powerful analytics software, which then sends the signals to a special sleeve that stimulates nerves in the forearm and wrist to trigger the specific motions the patient wants to make. Called “neural bypass technology,” it offers new hope to patients whose spinal cords have been damaged by injury or illness.
The Battelle analytics team is continuing to work on refining the algorithms and decoding methods for NeuroLife. Analyzing the data from the last two years will provide a better understanding of how Ian learned and adapted to the system over time. This will allow researchers to update the algorithms to make them more useful for future study subjects. They are also continuing development work on the sleeve and other aspects the hardware.
Online advertising could give the public health community new ways to target and reach their audiences. But are online ads effective for public health messages? A new analysis of data from the 2012 Tips From Former Smokers Campaign suggests that the answer is yes.
The study, “Does Digital Ad Exposure Influence Information-Seeking Behavior Online? Evidence From the 2012 Tips From Former Smokers National Tobacco Prevention Campaign,” was published in the March 2016 edition of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.
Online advertising offers several advantages for public health communications. The ads are much cheaper than traditional television Public Service Announcements (PSAs) and can be more effectively targeted to specific audiences by demography, geography or online behavior. In addition, they may offer a highly effective way to reach the increasing number of “cord cutters”—in particular younger audiences—who are migrating all of their entertainment and information seeking to the internet. However, there have been few quantitative studies that measure the effectiveness and impact of these online ads.
The Tips for Former Smokers campaign was launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012. The first-ever paid national tobacco education campaign, the Tipscampaign profiles real people who are living with serious long-term health effects from smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. The campaign incorporated TV broadcast, radio, billboard and social media along with digital advertising. Previous studies analyzed the overall effectiveness and cost impact of the campaign, which is estimated to have prevented 17,000 premature deaths at a gain of 179,000 years of healthy life. A previous study showed that the healthcare costs saved were many times the cost of the campaign, making Tips a “best buy” in public health.
The new study is the first to focus specifically on the effectiveness of online advertising in the campaign. The study went beyond simply counting “click through” behavior to analyze how the ads impact other types of information-seeking behavior. Using Comscore participants, who have agreed to allow researchers to track their online behavior, researchers were able to determine whether seeing the ads online influenced later information-seeking behaviors such as visiting the CDC Tips website or seeking out other smoking cessation resources. Measuring these latent effects gave researchers a much more nuanced and accurate understanding of how the ads influenced interest in smoking cessation. By comparing information-seeking activities of populations who were exposed to the ads to a control group of Comscore participants who did not see the online ads, researchers were able to quantify the impact of the ads.
The analysis showed that the online ads did have a real and measurable positive effect on the likelihood that a subject would look for information on smoking cessation online. As this is a first step on the road to quitting, it is a very positive sign for the public health community. It also suggests that online advertising may be a viable and cost-effective way to communicate other public health messages, such as diabetes awareness, maternal health or drug abuse prevention.
Battelle has a long history of public health communications work and research. They are currently expanding their health communications services in order to meet the needs of CDC and other public health clients. The Battelle Health and Analytics team brings together subject matter experts on a wide range of public health topics, from smoking cessation to childhood obesity, to design effective communication campaigns and educational programs that help people understand complex issues and make better health decisions for themselves and their families. They also have extensive experience in evaluating effectiveness and measuring results for public health campaigns.
Please join us in welcoming our latest addition to the Battelle Health and Analytics team. Her research experience will help us to continue to expand our public health research programs and services.
Katie Trocin joined the Battelle Behavioral Health team on June 6. Katie comes to Battelle Health and Analytics after recently graduating from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, where she completed her MPH with a concentration in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education. She also recently completed an internship with CDC’s Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. In her new role at Battelle, Katie will work on health communication and other related projects. Her main interests lie in integrating theory and data into public health practice.
If you missed our recent Healthcare IT News Webinar, it is now available on demand. Watch Performance Measure Analytics to Drive Improved Performance to get the latest updates on healthcare analytics and data-driven quality improvement.
The webinar is hosted by Warren Strauss, Director of the Battelle Advanced Analytics Applied Research Group, and Jeff Geppert, Senior Research Leader. You will learn:
Battelle experts presented lessons learned from the Healthy Community Study at the Healthy Eating Research Conference on April 8, 2016. The symposium, “The Healthy Communities Study: Examining How Community Policies and Programs are Related to Children’s Weight Status,” included a presentation by Warren Strauss and Dr. Lisa John on “Healthy Communities Study Overview & Methods.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) study, led by Battelle, is the first systematic study to attempt to correlate the characteristics of community programs and policies targeting childhood obesity and children’s obesity-related outcomes. Researchers gathered extensive data from community leaders and households in 130 communities across the country. The results will provide critical insights into what appears to be working to prevent childhood obesity in different types of communities, and help to inform public policy and design effective youth programs.
Dr. Robert Alexander Jr., Director of Health Communication, Policy and Surveillance on the Battelle Health and Consumer Solutions team, has been nominated for a 2016 Charles C. Shepard Science Award for his contributions on an analysis of the effectiveness of an anti-smoking campaign. The paper, “Increasing the Dose of Television Advertising in a National Antismoking Media Campaign: Results From a Randomized Field Trial,” builds on Roberts’s prior work on the Tips from Former Smokers Campaign, which he completed while working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This is Robert’s third consecutive nomination for the Charles C. Shepard Award, which is given by CDC in recognition of special contributions to CDC’s mission and to public health. He received the award in 2014 for his contributions to “Effect of the First Federally Funded U.S. Antismoking National Media Campaign”. In 2015, he was nominated again for his contributions to “A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of the First Federally Funded Antismoking Campaign.”
Since 1985, CDC and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have presented the Charles C. Shepard Science Award to authors of the most outstanding peer-reviewed research papers published by CDC/ATSDR scientists during the preceding year. The award recognizes scientific achievement at CDC/ATSDR and honors the memory of Dr. Charles C. Shepard, whose career was marked by the pursuit of scientific excellence.
Congratulations to Robert and his colleagues from CDC and RTI International.
You can read the full paper here: Increasing the Dose of Television Advertising in a National Antismoking Media Campaign: Results from a Randomized Field Trial