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Ohio State University Working With Wright-Patt On Athletics And Military Tech

Ohio State University is teaming with an Ohio-based Air Force research laboratory to help improve the health and performance of Special Forces troops and elite collegiate athletes.
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Ohio State University is teaming with an Air Force research laboratory to help improve the health and performance of Special Forces troops and elite collegiate athletes.

The inaugural agreement is between the OSU Wexner Medical Center and researchers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. They will develop and test technologies that may do everything from telling how close an athlete is to overexertion to letting a military instructor know if a soldier is dehydrated during physical training.

Researchers also hope the technologies will monitor and reduce disabilities in the lives of patients with debilitating neurological conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, dementia and traumatic brain injury, the Dayton Daily News reported Friday.

Dr. Ali R. Rezai, Wexner Medical Center's director of neuroscience, says the collaboration could lead to groundbreaking discoveries.

"It's really synergistic, and I think it leads to exponential advances," he said.

Technologies may range from micro implants in the body that are activated by smartphones, to the development of surgical tools and technologies, Rezai said. The personalized technologies could be put to use at home, at work, in laboratories, in clinical settings or in the military.

Ohio State athletes contend with some of the same physical demands Special Forces face, said Scott Galster, chief of applied neuroscience at the Air Force research lab.

"These are ideal environments in which to test out some of the sensing capabilities and improve performance," said Galster, who is leading the initiative with Rezai.

Former U.S. senator and pioneering Mercury astronaut John Glenn and his wife, Annie, watched the demonstrations Thursday. Glenn said Annie's father died of Parkinson's disease decades ago despite the best treatments available at the time.

"I've always thought we talk about space flight and all that kind of stuff, but to me the biggest frontier we have is between our ears," Glenn said. "This is exciting stuff. You can let your mind wander a little bit as to what the applications are if this continued on."