Awarded Grant Traumatic Injury Biomechanics
Description: Acute injuries to the spine and other extremities are both a health risk and a major contributor to total health care costs in the U.S. To reduce the severity and cost of these injuries, researchers will study injury biomechanics through the development of advanced computer modeling and risk assessment-based etiological methods.
Researchers will develop computational models of spinal fusion to determine the relative importance of fusion mass, location, fusion mass size, bone density of the fusion, and trabecular bone density within the vertebral body on the load carrying capacity of a lumbar interbody fusion. They will also develop a damage-specific contrast agent with greater x-ray attenuation than bone, for micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) of microdamage. This project will include developing a nonlinear hybrid cellular automata approach for designing automotive structural topologies that are tailored for energy-absorbing capability.
As a result of this study, diagnostic aids can be developed to evaluate interbody fusions, allowing clinicians to quantitatively assess the procedure and to set limits on physical activity to prevent spine re-injury for those with active lifestyles. Further, non-destructive techniques can be developed for detecting microdamage in bone that could eventually translate into new in vivo and clinical diagnostic techniques for fracture susceptibility, thus reducing the potential for injury among older adults.