Study of Traumatic Brain Injury Due to Shockwaves (037143)

Project Status: Current




Traumatic brain injuries due to shock/blast waves have increased dramatically over the last decade or so due to a significant increase in armed conflicts and the increased use of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). Although many of these injuries are sustained following exposure to explosive blasts, we currently lack a fundamental understanding of the dynamics and properties of shock/blast waves including propagation through air (or ambient environment), conduction through skull and brain tissue. The correlation between the blast wave properties and the resulting injury, both physical and cognitive impainnents and mood disorders such as depression and anxiety is poorly understood at this point. Another frequent occurance of TBI is due to concussions and similar injuries due to direct impact, these occur frequently in sports-related activities and automotive accidents, among others. Under this project, we will first collaborate with Dr. Levenson in the FSU Neuroscience Program and help better characterize the methodology used to produce impact-induced TBI. The methods used presently appear to have considerable variability in the way injury is imparted. A more precise characterization using advanced imaging and diagnostic methods from FCAAP will help increase the repeatability of such studies. This will in tum allow for a better understanding of the relationship between the severity of injury to cognitive impairment, ultimately leading to better prevention and treatment. In addition, we design a methodology that can produce blast waves whose properties are well-characterized and controlled. Some these properties include measuring (and controlling) the blast wave strength in terms of peak over-pressure, the pressure-temporal behavior and the spectral content of the blast/shock waves as they propagate through varied environmental conditions. Ultimately, test samples that model some of the properties of skulls and brain tissue will be examined in situ as they are exposed to blast-shock waves. This is a highly interdisciplinary study where the collective expertise of this team will be used gain some fundamental understanding of TBI sustained due to different insult mechanisms - direct impact and blast waves. This improved understanding will be a valuable step toward the long-term goal of developing mitigation strategies for reducing/preventing blast and impact associated brain injury.