Investigation of blast-induced traumatic brain injury.
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Abstract Objective: Many troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have sustained blast-related, closed-head injuries from being within non-lethal distance of detonated explosive devices. Little is known, however, about the mechanisms associated with blast exposure that give rise to traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study attempts to identify the precise conditions of focused stress wave energy within the brain, resulting from blast exposure, which will correlate with a threshold for persistent brain injury. Methods: This study developed and validated a set of modelling tools to simulate blast loading to the human head. Using these tools, the blast-induced, early-time intracranial wave motions that lead to focal brain damage were simulated. Results: The simulations predict the deposition of three distinct wave energy components, two of which can be related to injury-inducing mechanisms, namely cavitation and shear. Furthermore, the results suggest that the spatial distributions of these damaging energy components are independent of blast direction. Conclusions: The predictions reported herein will simplify efforts to correlate simulation predictions with clinical measures of TBI and aid in the development of protective headwear.