Dog Star Technologies, Co-owned by CPT President Mark Spivak, Receives STTR Contract from the Department of Defense
July 1, 2013
On July 1, 2013 the Department of Defense (DOD) notified Dog Star Technologies, a company co-owned by CPT President Mark Spivak, that the DOD was awarding Dog Star a contract to improve canine fMRI research processes so that they may be better employed for improving the selection, training, handling, and quality of life of service dogs.
In comparison to soldiers who participated in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, or Vietnam, fewer modern soldiers suffer lethal wounds. Yet, the increased survival rate of combat has posed new problems. According to an article written by Steve Almasy of CNN, “more than 624,00 veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have filed disability claims.” According to data released by the US Army Surgeon General’s Office published in the Huffington Post, “253,330 servicemen and women have suffered traumatic brain injury on the battlefield or elsewhere, including 3,949 with penetrating head wounds and 44,610 with severe or moderate brain injury. In the Army alone, 73,674 soldiers have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their combat experience.”
A USA Today article by Julie Watson states that ,“The Army diagnosed 76,176 soldiers with PTSD between 2000 and 2011.” The Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs publishes that 7.8% of the general American population “will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, with women (10.4%) twice as likely as men (5%) to develop PTSD.” In contrast the NDVA states, “30% of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 – 25% have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.”
To counter this growing problem, the Department of Defense plans to expand the application of service dogs for physically, cognitively, and emotionally disabled veterans. Service dogs can have great impact in improving the quality of life of our “wounded warriors.” Yet to maximize the success of a formal broad-based service dog program, the DOD must first determine how to improve cost effectiveness and productivity before authoring protocols for selecting, training, and managing service dogs for veterans.
Dog Star’s fMRI technology has high potential for accomplishing the preceding objectives. By studying and comparing the functional and structural MRIs of successful and non-successful service dogs, Dog Star hopes to eventually create models for predicting the success of a potential service dog, for improving the training of dogs that meet the predictive model, and for providing superior handler communications to trained service dogs. Such advances should improve the quality of life of our veteran soldiers and of service animals and continue to foster Dog Star’s emotional mission of fostering a deeper understanding of the human animal bond.
For more information about CPT or Dog Star Technologies, please contact Mark Spivak by email ([email protected]) or by phone (404-236-2150).