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September 25, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Department of Athletics today announced a research and development collaboration with the  Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) focused on improving the physical and mental performance and health of military personnel, athletes and patients.

The four-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement will focus on developing innovative human sensor technologies to detect, measure, analyze and improve the overall health, physical and cognitive function across these populations. This includes patients with conditions such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injury, stroke, sleep disorders and chronic pain.  Ohio State athletes in individual and team sports and Air Force personnel will also be targeted for physical and cognitive performance optimization. The collaboration will include:
  • The development of wearable sensors, biomarkers, assessment tools and analytics for measuring and monitoring stress, anxiety, sleep and other physiological functions at home, work and clinical settings
  • Improvement of quality of life outcomes and reduction of disability in those with neurological disorders
  • Development of Ohio-based technologies and commercialization products via the Neurotechnology Innovations Translator, an Ohio Third Frontier-funded center linking The Ohio State University, AFRL and other Ohio-based and national public and private partners.
“This important collaboration leverages the research expertise of both Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and the Air Force Research Laboratory, particularly in neurotechnology development,” said Ohio State President Dr. Michael V. Drake. “Innovative exchanges of ideas and technology are at the core of Ohio State’s land-grant mission, as we look for new ways to improve lives and forge groundbreaking partnerships.”

AFRL, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is dedicated to leading the discovery, development and integration of warfighting technologies for the nation’s air, space and cyberspace forces. The lab, with more than 5,700 civilian and military employees, is responsible for all aspects of Air Force science and technology, including basic research, applied research and advanced technology development.

“We look forward to partnering with Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center to conduct physiologic studies looking at cardiac activity, sleep patterns, blood pressure, respiration, maximum oxygen consumption and neuromodulation,” said Dr. Scott Galster, chief of the Applied Neuroscience Branch at AFRL.

Technology developed through this program would apply to medical patients through at-home and inpatient monitoring, diagnosis and treatment.

Some of the studies will involve elite Ohio State athletes, who will be monitored for target biomarkers that play a role in limiting physical performance or controlling stress. This would involve development of external wearable sensors and monitors to help detect and correct performance issues and optimize outcomes.

“Ohio State Athletics welcomes the opportunity for our athletes to participate in this cutting-edge research to help them improve their physical and mental performance both on and off the field,” Ohio State University Athletic Director Gene Smith said. “Innovation in sports medicine allows the university and athletics to continue to benchmark standards for the nation.”

“This exciting research and development partnership has the potential to benefit everyone. The knowledge we acquire and the technology we develop will improve the safety, health and wellness of our patients, military personnel, athletes and the general population,” said Dr. Ali Rezai, director of Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center’s Neurological Institute, who is leading this initiative, along with Galster.

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Media Contact: Eileen Scahill                                                     Media Contact: Ted Theopolis
Wexner Medical Center Media Relations                                  88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
614-293-3737                                                                                 937-522-3252                         
Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu.                                                         Theodore.Theopolos.1@us.af.mil