Injury and lethality from all aspects of explosive weapons continue to be a major concern for Service Members in operations, both mounted and dismounted, and in training exposures. Understanding these injuries can guide training standards, protective equipment design, and serious injury treatment. Over a period of nearly five decades, from 1951 to 1998, DoD funded studies of blast effects were conducted at the Albuquerque Blast Test Site on Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB), New Mexico. These data were generated from a range of experiments involving more than 12,000 animal subjects representing 13 species, and a wide spectrum of blast conditions including explosions in the open field, enclosures, and underwater. Additionally, experiments were done using a variety of blast and shock tubes. The DoD Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office currently oversees a significant project to preserve and disseminate this historical blast bioeffects research data.
The goal of this effort is to provide broad access to the considerable wealth of DoD historical data and findings on the biological effects of blast so that program managers, researchers, and medical decision makers can solve current and future problems with minimum duplication and maximum efficiency.
The four major steps of the project include: (1) recovery of historical data into a form that is complete, organized, and can be readily accessed; (2) qualification of the data to ensure that the data is reliable and consistent; (3) development of a web-based application that allows controlled access to the date, literature, and findings; and (4) population of an online data repository with user tools for ongoing data collection and user interaction.
The historical data will be recovered and disseminated in four phases: primary blast, shock tube blast, secondary/tertiary blast, and combined threat. As the historical and contemporary blast bioeffects data are captured and made available, the scientific community will be able to begin testing hypothesis and validating proposed models.
The potential payoff includes the preservation and wide availability of the data to researchers and the scientific community; guidance to research program managers on past research/data to avoid unnecessary duplication, speed up addressing gaps, and validate new models and hypotheses; guidance to protection system developers to support the development of effective protection systems; and guidance to medical decision makers on screening algorithms and countermeasures for blast injuries. Knowledge gained from these data can be used to improve Service Member protection, survivability, and warfighting capabilities.
For more information on the Historical Blast Data Project, or ways to get involved, please contact the BIRCO.
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