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Brain pressure responses in translational head impact: a dimensional analysis and a further computational study

Abstract

Brain pressure responses resulting from translational head impact are typically related to focal injuries at the coup and contrecoup sites. Despite significant efforts characterizing brain pressure responses using experimental and modeling approaches, a thorough investigation of the key controlling parameters appears lacking. In this study, we identified three parameters specific and important for brain pressure responses induced by isolated linear acceleration \((a_{\text {lin}} )\) via a dimensional analysis: \(a_{\text {lin}} \) itself (magnitude and directionality), brain size and shape. These findings were verified using our recently developed Dartmouth Head Injury Model (DHIM). Applying \(a_{\text {lin}} \) to the rigid skull, we found that the temporal profile of the given \(a_{\text {lin}} \) directly determined that of pressure. Brain pressure was also found to be linearly proportional to brain size and dependent on impact direction. In addition, we investigated perturbations to brain pressure responses as a result of non-rigid skull deformation. Finally, DHIM pressure responses were quantitatively validated against two representative cadaveric head impacts (categorized as “good” to “excellent” in performance). These results suggest that both the magnitude and directionality of \(a_{\text {lin}} \) as well as brain size and shape should be considered when interpreting brain pressure responses. Further, a model validated against pressure responses alone is not sufficient to ensure its fidelity in strain-related responses. These findings provide important insights into brain pressure responses in translational head impact and the resulting risk of pressure-induced injury. In addition, they establish the feasibility of creating a pre-computed atlas for real-time tissue-level pressure responses without a direct simulation in the future.

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Acknowledgments

This work was sponsored, in part, by the NIH Grant R21 NS078607 and the Dartmouth Hitchcock Foundation.

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No competing financial interests exist.

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Correspondence to Songbai Ji.

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Zhao, W., Ruan, S. & Ji, S. Brain pressure responses in translational head impact: a dimensional analysis and a further computational study. Biomech Model Mechanobiol 14, 753–766 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10237-014-0634-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10237-014-0634-0

Keywords

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Finite element model
  • Linear acceleration
  • Rotational acceleration
  • Dartmouth Head Injury Model