Awarded Grant Traumatic Injury Biomechanics


Description: Traumatic brain injury, a major cause of death and disability, is frequently associated with the failure of cerebral blood vessels. However, little is known about the biomechanics of these vessels. The long-term goal of this research is to determine the contribution of cerebral blood vessels to the mechanical response of the brain and to develop more effective tools and strategies for preventing traumatic brain injury. Recent work by this group has defined the longitudinal mechanical properties of human cerebral arteries and veins. A preliminary finite element model incorporating these data suggests that the cerebral blood vessels constrain brain deformations. The central hypothesis of this project is that the cerebral blood vessels and the surrounding pia-arachnoid complex significantly contribute to brain tissue deformation and failure.

Three aims will test this hypothesis:

  • Aim 1 will delineate the mechanical behavior of cerebral vessel branch points to determine whether branched sections are more susceptible to deformation and failure than unbranched sections.
  • Aim 2 will characterize the mechanical behavior of the pia-arachnoid complex to determine its influence on cerebral vessel response and failure.
  • Aim 3 will define tissue deformations in the proximity of a branched blood vessel through both physical and numerical modeling to determine if branched vessel structure provides additional constraint to surrounding brain tissue compared with straight vessel segments alone.

This research should provide definitive data about the influence of cerebral blood vessels and the pia-arachnoid complex on brain tissue deformation and failure. If proven to be important, as anticipated, the inclusion of these structures in a more clinically relevant finite element model could lead to better injury protection systems and pave the way for improved prevention and outcome of traumatic brain injury.