Super SEALs: Elite Units Pursue Brain-Stimulating Technologies #headlines,featured,technology,navy #seals,navy #special #operations,hope #seck


#

Daily News

Super SEALs: Elite Units Pursue Brain-Stimulating Technologies

Using a product similar to this headset from Halo Neuroscience, the Navy SEAL community is conducting tests on neuro-stimulation technology. (Photo courtesy Halo Neuroscience)

2 Apr 2017 Military.com | by Hope Hodge Seck

At a conference near Washington, D.C. in February, the commander of all Navy special operations units made an unusual request to industry: Develop and demonstrate technologies that offer cognitive enhancement capabilities to boost his elite forces’ mental and physical performance.

We plan on using that in mission enhancement, Rear Adm. Tim Szymanski said. The performance piece is really critical to the life of our operators.

Szymanski expanded on his remarks in a brief interview later, saying he has his eye on a number of technologies, including pharmaceutical aids. But the results of one breakthrough involving the direct application of electrical stimulation to the brain have particularly caught his eye.

In experiments, people who were watching these screens. their ability to concentrate would fall off in about 20 minutes, Szymanski said. But they did studies whereby a little bit of electrical stimulation was applied, and they were able to maintain the same peak performance for 20 hours.

Transcranial electrical stimulation was one of the technologies touted by then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter in July 2016 as part of his Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental), or DIUx, initiative. Since then, multiple SEAL units have begun actively testing the effectiveness of the technology, officials with Naval Special Warfare Command told Military.com

Earlier this year, Naval Special Warfare units, working with DIUx, began a specific cognitive enhancement project with a small group of volunteers to test and evaluate achieving higher performance through the use of neuro-stimulation technology, Capt. Jason Salata, a spokesman for the command, said in a statement.

The elements testing the technology include Naval Special Warfare Development Group, the unit known more popularly as SEAL Team Six. Other teams are also conducting tests, Salata said. He declined to confirm how many operators are participating in the testing, or to cite specific findings to date. But there have been positive outcomes so far, he said.

Early results show promising signs, he said. Based on this, we are encouraged to continue and are moving forward with our studies.

The company that makes the brain-stimulating device — a headset that could be mistaken for a pair of Beats by Dre headphones — is Halo Neuroscience. And the technology offers not cognitive enhancement, but neuro-priming, Chief Technology Officer and Company Co-Founder Brett Wingeier told Military.com.

Developed for elite athletes, the headset purports to work by stimulating the brain to enter a state of hyper-elasticity, allowing users to learn better and more efficiently. In physical training, he said, the technology has proven useful in developing explosive power for athletes whose sports require vertical leaps or sudden starts.

For operators, the same system could improve shooting performance, Wingeier said.

Whatever you’re training on as far as a movement-based skill, he said, if you do deep practice, hard repetition, this accelerates the benefit of that.

In a study conducted with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, ski jumpers observed a 13 percent gain in propulsion force and 11 percent gain in jump smoothness compared with a control group over four weeks of using the device, according to data promoted by Halo. As testimonials note, marginal improvements can make a big difference for elite athletes — a statement arguably true of special operators as well.

For the notoriously hard-training and sleep-starved SEAL community, the device offers greater efficiency in training, allowing operators to train less and see the same results, or train at the same level and get a boost in performance.

They’re training at this amazingly high level, and the amount they can train is actually limited by things like physical recovery, Wingeier said. They want to be able to maintain those incredible physical standards as efficiently as possible. That helps them avoid injury. If I was to sum it up, it’s kind of all about just training a little bit smarter.

Wingeier said the number of Halo devices being used by elite units for testing is in the double digits, adding they are being tested at five military installations. Even compared with the athletes the company has previously worked with, he said the focus and determination of SEALs is impressive.

It was a real learning moment for us about special operations and about the military. It’s super impressive just how enormously skilled everybody is, he said. They spend a lot of time thinking about what they do and honing their craft. A lot of what they’re interested in is, in terms of physical training, they want to build and maintain these amazing physical skills, but to just do so as efficiently as possible.

Although some experts have warned that the full long-term side effects of using neuro-priming to improve performance may not be known, Wingeier said lab tests have repeatedly proven that the product, which is commercially available in a sport configuration, is safe.

But Andrew Herr, CEO of research firm Helicase and an adjunct fellow with the Center for a New American Security, suggested the question of side effects should be approached more leniently when dealing with troops whose lives are at risk in combat.

In the context of medical or pharmaceutical performance aids such as modafinil — commonly used by fighter pilots — or amphetamines, he said there has been significant resistance in the medical community to prescribing them as performance enhancements because of their inherent side effects.

The concept’s that if you’re not healing, then no side effects are worth it or acceptable, he said. [But] when you’re sending people into combat situations where their lives are on the line, the ethics are flipped. I think actually we are thinking about ethics all backward in this field because the military has a unique requirement. And it’s even more powerful in the special operations field.

The most useful proven performance aids are much lower-tech than transcranial direct-current brain stimulation, Herr said. They include things such as performance nutrition, supplements, legal stimulants such as caffeine, and even meditation, which has been proven to improve focus and attention and decrease the effects of not getting enough sleep.

In addition to neuro-priming, Herr said technologies, including application of light frequencies and biometric feedback, have been shown to boost performance and cognition.

Regardless of the technology or method, he said it is important that the military conduct robust tests and demonstrations on aids to human performance, contributing resources to making the warfighter stronger and more resilient the way it did to developing cutting-edge aircraft and gear.

You really want to test these things in high-end training environments, which could tell you, do these matter in a warfare scenario, he said. We need to really believe that investing in the human makes sense.

Szymanski signaled an interest in testing other performance-enhancement technologies, as well as pharmaceutical aids such as blood testosterone in the future. But he said he’s approaching the field of enhancements carefully, with an eye to side effects, and warning operators not to take the first steps on their own.

I’m always anxious, because I’m in a community of risk-takers, he said. Guys may want to try experimenting on their own, which is against policy and has to be completely drug-tested and those types of things. So I’d want to do that in a very systematic kind of way.

5 Things You Don’t Know About: Navy SEALs


Drive-by shooting victim from Rolling Meadows gets rehab help from friends #news, #arlington #heights, #hinsdale,


#

Drive-by shooting victim from Rolling Meadows gets rehab help from friends

Video: Quadriplegic after shooting

Chelsea Black, 20, of Rolling Meadows, was the victim of a drive-by shooting in November that has left her a quadriplegic. Above, Chelsea asks her mother, Liz Black, to put a blanket around her head.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Chelsea Black can use the internet with special technology controlled by her eye movements. Here she scrolls to a Facebook page and shows a photo of herself singing, a sign of happier times.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Chelsea Black, 20, the victim of a drive-by shooting in November that has left her a quadriplegic, hopes some day she will gain use of her limbs. She is being treated at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Chelsea Black, 20, continues her rehabilitation after being the victim of a drive-by shooting back in November. Above, her mother Liz Black frequently assists Chelsea, who hopes to gain some sort of limb function at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale, before she is transported to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Chelsea Black, 20, the victim of a drive-by shooting back in November that has left her a quadriplegic, is always happy to see her sister Tamara Black, right. Chelsea is rehabbing at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale.
Daniel White | Staff Photographer

By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent

Liz Black of Rolling Meadows has graphic memories of the night last November when she learned her daughter, now 20, had been hit by gunfire while riding with friends in a car on the Northwest Side of Chicago.

“It was at 2 a.m.,” Black recalls. “They told me my daughter had been shot, and that it was serious. When I got there a chaplain met us, and the doctors told me she had been shot in the worst possible place.”

Monetary donations can be directed to: Chelsea Black Trust, MB Financial Bank N.A. Attention: Trust Department, 1400 Sixteenth St. Oak Brook, IL 60523.

For donations in a form other than a check, contact MB Financial at (630) 203-2742.

Her daughter, Chelsea, had been taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, where she was admitted as Yazmine Doe, since medical personnel could not immediately find any identification. Once hospital officials found her wallet, they called her mother.

Within days, Chelsea underwent surgery to reroute her nerves and insert pins in her spine. Doctors told her mother she would be a quadriplegic, with no movement from her chest down.

Chelsea was a member of the Rolling Meadows High School class of 2015, and she played basketball, tennis and softball, and sang in the variety shows. She is being treated at a rehabilitation facility in Hinsdale that specializes in weaning patients off a ventilator.

Chelsea Black, the victim of a drive-by shooting in November that has left her a quadriplegic, can use the internet with special technology controlled by her eye movements. Here she scrolls to a Facebook page with her mother, Liz Black. – Daniel White | Staff Photographer

Some of her former high school friends try to visit, but she mostly keeps in touch with the outside world through a specialized computer she operates with her eyes.

Doctors first told Chelsea she never would be able to breathe without a ventilator. She now is able to breathe on her own for short amounts of time, allowing her to speak softly.

“It’s just so awful that no matter who you are or where you’re from, that you’re not safe from a drive-by shooting that could take your life or paralyze you at any moment,” said Sue Dungan of Arlington Heights, whose daughter, Bridget, is a close friend of Chelsea’s.

Dungan and her husband, Chris, and Chelsea’s former tennis coach, Carol Martini of Arlington Heights, have established a trust fund for the family held by MB Financial Bank in Oak Brook, where supporters can donate to the family’s needs.

They also are organizing fundraisers to rally community support, including a live performance by Michael Ingersoll of “Jersey Boys” and his wife, Angela, on June 11 at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, and a women’s tennis tournament at Forest View Racquet Club.

“The family doesn’t have a support network, so we’re trying to do everything we can to help them,” Martini said, adding details of the fundraisers are still being finalized.

Liz Black said Chelsea describes having tingling sensations in her arms and a burning feeling in her legs, giving them hope she may one day regain some movement.

Martini, who coached Chelsea in tennis and badminton, said she has her relative youth and athleticism going for her.

“I’m sure that fierce determination I saw in her as a tennis player is getting her through each day,” Martini said. “I know she just wants to go home.”

According to Liz Black, Chelsea, then 19, had gone to hang out with a friend from Chicago whom she had met when the girls lived in the same apartment complex in Arlington Heights.

Chelsea Black, 20, a graduate of Rolling Meadows High School, was the victim of a drive-by shooting back in November that has left her a quadriplegic. She is rehabbing at RML Specialty Hospital in Hinsdale. – Daniel White | Staff Photographer

The two were riding with a third person in a car about 1 a.m. Nov. 4, a few blocks from The Brickyard shopping center in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood, when four shots rang out. One bullet ripped through Chelsea’s neck, tearing through her spinal cord and the nerves in her neck, and another hit her friend, an 18-year-old woman, in the abdomen, Chicago police said. The friend was also taken to Loyola, while the vehicle’s third occupant was not injured.

Police said the circumstances of the shooting are not known, and no one has been charged. The investigation is ongoing, police said.

Liz Black has worked as a driver for the Pace Suburban Bus Service for the last 15 years. Her husband died of a drug overdose in 2010, and the family lives in a rented house in Rolling Meadows.

Liz Black dreams of one day bringing Chelsea home, but she would need to move to a place that is handicapped accessible and obtain a vehicle equipped to transport her daughter and her wheelchair.

“My daughter has always been headstrong and determined,” Liz Black said. “She will get through this. There is no option other than to get through this.”

One of Chelsea’s dreams is to strengthen her voice and vocal chords enough to sing again. Back in high school, she was known for her singing and she even tried out for “American Idol” and “America’s Got Talent.”

Her mother remembers waiting in line with her for more than five hours with thousands of other potential singers, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

On the spur of the moment, Liz Black said, Chelsea chose the song she would sing: “My Heart Will Go On,” from the movie “Titanic.”

Get articles sent to your inbox.


Featured Jobs #online #coupons


#retail consultants

#

probably the best recruitment team that I have had the pleasure to work with, both from the client and candidate perspectives. They go to great trouble to match client brief with candidate experience and skills they are consultants who have worked at the coalface, not the modern scatter gun approach you get from the agencies

RMC found me through their research efforts. I found them to be probably the best recruitment team that I have had the pleasure to work with, both from the client and candidate perspectives. They go to great trouble to match client brief with candidate experience and skills. In other words they do a quality job properly, they are consultants who have worked at the coalface, not the modern scatter gun approach you get from the agencies.

From the candidate viewpoint they brief you well. On an overseas assignment (India is seriously overseas!), they prepare you well, and then continue to make sure that you are OK even after you have been in the assignment for some time, and continuously throughout, not forgetting you when you have finished. The client gets a good appointment, the candidate is not alone, there is always a friendly voice and good advice at hand if things get tricky. A very professional team.

Lionel Stanton
Chief Operating Officer. Future Group

The Revolution will be Digitised

How can retailers maintain a consistent, high-quality experience when the customer journey is devolved?


Featured Jobs #visual #merchandiser #jobs


#retail consultants

#

probably the best recruitment team that I have had the pleasure to work with, both from the client and candidate perspectives. They go to great trouble to match client brief with candidate experience and skills they are consultants who have worked at the coalface, not the modern scatter gun approach you get from the agencies

RMC found me through their research efforts. I found them to be probably the best recruitment team that I have had the pleasure to work with, both from the client and candidate perspectives. They go to great trouble to match client brief with candidate experience and skills. In other words they do a quality job properly, they are consultants who have worked at the coalface, not the modern scatter gun approach you get from the agencies.

From the candidate viewpoint they brief you well. On an overseas assignment (India is seriously overseas!), they prepare you well, and then continue to make sure that you are OK even after you have been in the assignment for some time, and continuously throughout, not forgetting you when you have finished. The client gets a good appointment, the candidate is not alone, there is always a friendly voice and good advice at hand if things get tricky. A very professional team.

Lionel Stanton
Chief Operating Officer. Future Group

The Revolution will be Digitised

How can retailers maintain a consistent, high-quality experience when the customer journey is devolved?