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Awarded New Investigator/Doctoral Dissertation Grant

Gender-Specific Neck Musculoskeletal Models for Analyzing Whiplash Injury

FOA Number: CE05-021 - Grants for New Investigator Training Awards
Project Period: 8/30/05-8/29/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000660-01
Principal Investigator: Anita Vasavada, BS, MS, PhD
School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering
PO Box 646520
Wegner Hall 205
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6520


Female gender is associated with increased incidence and severity of whiplash injury, but the reasons underlying this association remain unclear. Though models can be used to explain how biomechanical gender differences influence head and neck kinematics during whiplash and thus injury, analyzing gender differences in whiplash has been limited as there is no model of the human female neck. This project will characterize geometrical differences in vertebrae and muscles in size-matched males and females and 50th percentile females.

Researchers propose to characterize these differences by measuring neck muscle and vertebral dimensions from magnetic resonance images (MRI) and radiographs in male and female subjects who are size-matched in external dimensions and in 50th percentile females. Researchers will also quantify gender differences in neck volumes and bone dimensions. Geometric parameters will be compared between genders using t-tests, and regression analyses will determine whether mathematical relationships exist among parameters. This study will identify modifiable risk factors for and mechanisms of nonfatal whiplash injuries of the neck and back. It will also improve the understanding of the mechanisms of whiplash injury, providing information that can aid in the design of preventive measures and treatment protocols.