The Army hopes to develop technologies that would eliminate subjective pain evaluations and objectively assess injuries, Wired reports.
Through the objective method for pain detection and diagnosis program, the Army’s Medical Research and Material Command wants to develop a device or biomarker system that can monitor and measure the intensity of soldiers’ pain.
Doctors would get a better measurement of the pain acuteness and how to effectively treat the condition, according to the report.
Potential applications could include cases where soldiers cannot self-report as a result of severe injury or sedation, the Army said..
Sixty-percent of soldiers evacuated with injuries from Iraq said their pain was severe, according to a 2009 survey.
Soldiers are additionally becoming dependent on painkillers, resulting in overdoses that are sometimes fatal, the report said.
Military doctors prescribed painkillers nearly 3.8 million times in 2009 and 25 percent of soldiers surveyed indicated they were abusing prescription drugs.
Technology that could gauge injuries more inaccurately could potentially reduce the prevalence of those problems, according to the report.
Researchers developing brain-scanning techniques and biomarkers could prove to be promising if applied as the Army wants the technology to work.