International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 477–486 | Cite as

Measured body composition and geometrical data of four “virtual family” members for thermoregulatory modeling

  • Xiaojiang Xu
  • Timothy P. Rioux
  • Tynan MacLeod
  • Tejash Patel
  • Maxwell N. Rome
  • Adam W. Potter
Original Paper


The purpose of this paper is to develop a database of tissue composition, distribution, volume, surface area, and skin thickness from anatomically correct human models, the virtual family. These models were based on high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of human volunteers, including two adults (male and female) and two children (boy and girl). In the segmented image dataset, each voxel is associated with a label which refers to a tissue type that occupies up that specific cubic millimeter of the body. The tissue volume was calculated from the number of the voxels with the same label. Volumes of 24 organs in body and volumes of 7 tissues in 10 specific body regions were calculated. Surface area was calculated from the collection of voxels that are touching the exterior air. Skin thicknesses were estimated from its volume and surface area. The differences between the calculated and original masses were about 3 % or less for tissues or organs that are important to thermoregulatory modeling, e.g., muscle, skin, and fat. This accurate database of body tissue distributions and geometry is essential for the development of human thermoregulatory models. Data derived from medical imaging provide new effective tools to enhance thermal physiology research and gain deeper insight into the mechanisms of how the human body maintains heat balance.


Thermoregulatory model Body temperature Heat content Body composition Medical image 



The authors would like to thank Drs. Reed Hoyt, William Santee, Karl Friedl, Gary Zientara, and John Castellani for their discussion, comments, and proofreading and Mr. Stephen Mullen for his technical assistance. This article is approved for public release. The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the author(s) and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Army or the Department of Defense. Any citations of commercial organizations and trade names in this report do not constitute an official Department of the Army endorsement of approval of the products or services of these organizations.


  1. Ackerman MJ (1999) The visible human project: a resource for education. Acad Med 74:667–670CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arens EA, Zhang H (2006) The skin’s role in human thermoregulation and comfort. In: Pan N, Gibson P (eds) Thermal and moisture transport in fibrous materials. Woodhead Publishing Ltd., Cambridge, pp. 560–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bhowmik A, Repaka R, Mishra SC (2014) Thermal analysis of the increasing subcutaneous fat thickness within the human skin—a numerical study. Numerical Heat Transfer, Part A: Applications 67:313–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brinck H, Werner J (1994) Efficiency function: improvement of classical bioheat approach. J Appl Physiol (1985) 77:1617–1622Google Scholar
  5. Charkoudian N (2003) Skin blood flow in adult human thermoregulation: how it works, when it does not, and why. Mayo Clin Proc 78:603–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christ A, Kainz W, Hahn EG, Honegger K, Zefferer M, Neufeld E, Rascher W, Janka R, Bautz W, Chen J, Kiefer B, Schmitt P, Hollenbach HP, Shen J, Oberle M, Szczerba D, Kam A, Guag JW, Kuster N (2010) The virtual family—development of surface-based anatomical models of two adults and two children for dosimetric simulations. Phys Med Biol 55:N23–N38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dennis BH, Eberhart RC, Dulikravich GS, Radons SW (2003) Finite-element simulation of cooling of realistic 3-D human head and neck. J Biomech Eng 125:832–840CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Diller KR, Zhu L (2009) Hypothermia therapy for brain injury. Annu Rev Biomed Eng 11:135–162. doi: 10.1146/annurev-bioeng-061008-124908.:135-162 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Du BD, Du BOISEF (1916) Clinical calorimetry: tenth paper a formula to estimate the approximate surface area if height and weight be known. Arch Intern Med XVII:863–871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ferreira MS, Yanagihara JI (2009) A transient three-dimensional heat transfer model of the human body. International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer 36:718–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fiala D, Lomas KJ, Stohrer M (1999) A computer model of human thermoregulation for a wide range of environmental conditions: the passive system. J Appl Physiol 87:1957–1972Google Scholar
  12. Gagge AP, Fobelets AP, Berglund L (1986) A standard predictive index of human response to the thermal environment. ASHRAE Trans; (United States) 92Google Scholar
  13. Gordon RG, Roemer RB, Horvath SM (1976) A mathematical model of the human temperature regulatory system—transient cold exposure response. IEEE Trans Biomed Eng 23:434–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Havenith G, Fiala D (2015) Thermal indices and thermophysiological modeling for heat stress. Compr Physiol 6:255–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huizenga C, Hui Z, Arens E (2001) A model of human physiology and comfort for assessing complex thermal environments. Build Environ 36:691–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jendritzky G, de Dear R, Havenith G (2012) UTCI—why another thermal index? Int J Biometeorol 56:421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kakuta N, Yokoyama S, Nakamura M, Mabuchi K (2001) Estimation of radiative heat transfer using a geometric human model. Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on 48:324–331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kingma BR, Vosselman MJ, Frijns AJ, van Steenhoven AA, van Marken Lichtenbelt WD (2013) Incorporating neurophysiological concepts in mathematical thermoregulation models. Int J BiometeorolGoogle Scholar
  19. Kobayashi Y, Tanabe S (2013) Development of JOS-2 human thermoregulation model with detailed vascular system. Build Environ 66:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MacLeod T, Rioux TP, Yokota M, Li P, Corner BD, Xu X (2014) Individualized human CAD models: anthropometric morphing and body tissue layering. Technical report T14–6, ADA609587. US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, NatickGoogle Scholar
  21. McDowell MA, Fryar CD, Hirsch R, Ogden CL (2005) Anthropometric reference data for children and adults: U.S. population, 1999–20002. 257. Advanced data from vital and health statistics no. 361411–426Google Scholar
  22. Mullikin JC, Verbeek PW (1993) Surface area estimation of digitized planes. Bioimaging 1:6–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nelson DA, Charbonnel S, Curran AR, Marttila EA, Fiala D, Mason PA, Ziriax JM (2009) A high-resolution voxel model for predicting local tissue temperatures in humans subjected to warm and hot environments. J Biomech Eng 131:041003CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Shabat YB, Shitzer A, Fiala D (2014) Modified wind chill temperatures determined by a whole body thermoregulation model and human-based facial convective coefficients. Int J Biometeorol 58:1007–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Shitzer A, Arens E, Zhang H (2015) Compilation of basal metabolic and blood perfusion rates in various multi-compartment, whole-body thermoregulation models. Int J BiometeorolGoogle Scholar
  26. Stolwijk JAJ, Hardy JD (2011) Control of body temperature. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 26: Handbook of Physiology, Reactions to Environmental Agents: 45–68. First published in print 1977. DOI:  10.1002/cphy.cp090104. John Wiley & Sons, Inc
  27. Takada S, Kobayashi H, Matsushita T (2009) Thermal model of human body fitted with individual characteristics of body temperature regulation. Build Environ 44:463–470CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tikuisis P (1997) Prediction of survival time at sea based on observed body cooling rates. Aviat Space Environ Med 68:441–448Google Scholar
  29. Tikuisis P (2003) Heat balance precedes stabilization of body temperatures during cold water immersion. J Appl Physiol 95:89–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Werner J (2010a) Modeling homeostatic responses to heat and cold. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 14: Handbook of Physiology, Environmental Physiology: 613–626. First published in print 1996. doi:  10.1002/cphy.cp040128. John Wiley & Sons, Inc
  31. Werner J (2010b) System properties, feedback control and effector coordination of human temperature regulation. Eur J Appl Physiol 109:13–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Werner J, Buse M (1988) Temperature profiles with respect to inhomogeneity and geometry of the human body. J Appl Physiol 65:1110–1118Google Scholar
  33. Wissler EH (1964) A mathematical model of the human thermal system. Bull Math Biophys 26:147–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wissler EH (1985) In: Shitzer A, Eberhart R (eds) Mathematical simulation of human thermal behavior using whole body models. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 325–373Google Scholar
  35. Xu X, Tikuisis P (2014) Thermoregulatory modeling for cold stress. Compr Physiol 4:1057–1081CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Xu X, Werner J (1997) A dynamic model of the human/clothing/environment-system. Appl Hum Sci 16:61–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Xu X, Tikuisis P, Giesbrecht G (1999) A mathematical model for human brain cooling during cold-water near-drowning. J Appl Physiol 86:265–272Google Scholar
  38. Xu X, Gonzalez JA, Santee WR, Blanchard LA, Hoyt RW (2015) Heat strain imposed by personal protective ensembles: quantitative analysis using a thermoregulation model. Int J BiometeorolGoogle Scholar
  39. Zhang H, Huizenga C, Arens E, Yu T (2001) Considering individual physiological differences in a human thermal model. J Therm Biol 26:401–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhang H, Arens E, Huizenga C, Han T (2010) Thermal sensation and comfort models for non-uniform and transient environments, part II: local comfort of individual body parts. Build Environ 45:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zhou X, Lian Z, Lan L (2013) An individualized human thermoregulation model for Chinese adults. Build Environ 70:257–265CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© US Government 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaojiang Xu
    • 1
  • Timothy P. Rioux
    • 1
  • Tynan MacLeod
    • 1
  • Tejash Patel
    • 1
  • Maxwell N. Rome
    • 1
  • Adam W. Potter
    • 1
  1. 1.US Army Research Institute of Environmental MedicineBiophysics and Biomedical Modeling DivisionNatickUSA

Personalised recommendations