Semin Neurol 2015; 35(01): 005-011
DOI: 10.1055/s-0035-1544242
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Biophysical Mechanisms of Traumatic Brain Injuries

Lee Ann Young
1   Physical Security and Applied Sciences Sector, Applied Research Associates Inc., Dallas, Texas
,
Gregory T. Rule
2   Physical Security and Applied Sciences Sector, Applied Research Associates, Inc., San Antonio, Texas
,
Robert T. Bocchieri
3   Silicon Valley Office, Applied Research Associates, Inc., Los Altos, California
,
Jennie M. Burns
2   Physical Security and Applied Sciences Sector, Applied Research Associates, Inc., San Antonio, Texas
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Publikationsverlauf

Publikationsdatum:
25. Februar 2015 (online)

Abstract

Despite years of effort to prevent traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), the occurrence of TBI in the United States alone has reached epidemic proportions. When an external force is applied to the head, it is converted into stresses that must be absorbed into the brain or redirected by a helmet or other protective equipment. Complex interactions of the head, neck, and jaw kinematics result in strains in the brain. Even relatively mild mechanical trauma to these tissues can initiate a neurochemical cascade that leads to TBI. Civilians and warfighters can experience head injuries in both combat and noncombat situations from a variety of threats, including ballistic and blunt impact, acceleration, and blast. It is critical to understand the physics created by these threats to develop meaningful improvements to clinical care, injury prevention, and mitigation. Here the authors review the current state of understanding of the complex loading conditions that lead to TBI and characterize how these loads are transmitted through soft tissue, the skull and into the brain, resulting in TBI. In addition, gaps in knowledge and injury thresholds are reviewed, as these must be addressed to better design strategies that reduce TBI incidence and severity.