Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 46, Issue 7, pp 972–985 | Cite as

Development of a Metric for Predicting Brain Strain Responses Using Head Kinematics

  • Lee F. Gabler
  • Jeff R. Crandall
  • Matthew B. Panzer


Diffuse brain injuries are caused by excessive brain deformation generated primarily by rapid rotational head motion. Metrics that describe the severity of brain injury based on head motion often do not represent the governing physics of brain deformation, rendering them ineffective over a broad range of head impact conditions. This study develops a brain injury metric based on the response of a second-order mechanical system, and relates rotational head kinematics to strain-based brain injury metrics: maximum principal strain (MPS) and cumulative strain damage measure (CSDM). This new metric, universal brain injury criterion (UBrIC), is applicable over a broad range of kinematics encountered in automotive crash and sports. Efficacy of UBrIC was demonstrated by comparing it to MPS and CSDM predicted in 1600 head impacts using two different finite element (FE) brain models. Relative to existing metrics, UBrIC had the highest correlation with the FE models, and performed better in most impact conditions. While UBrIC provides a reliable measurement for brain injury assessment in a broad range of head impact conditions, and can inform helmet and countermeasure design, an injury risk function was not incorporated into its current formulation until validated strain-based risk functions can be developed and verified against human injury data.


Brain deformation Finite element modeling Rotational Second-order system 



The authors thank the Partnership for Dummy Technology and Biomechanics (PDB) for support and funding for this research.

Supplementary material

10439_2018_2015_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (254 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 253 kb)


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee F. Gabler
    • 1
  • Jeff R. Crandall
    • 1
  • Matthew B. Panzer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical and Aerospace EngineeringUniversity of Virginia, Center for Applied BiomechanicsCharlottesvilleUSA

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