Imperial College of London researchers have demonstrated a link between forces acting on the brain during traumatic injury to the damage witnessed years after the initial trauma. The study findings could be important in predicting the severity of brain injuries, and thus, help in designing effective helmets for different activities and sports.
TBI can lead to long-term brain damage
Normally, traumatic brain injury results from a jolt or impact to the head after a road accident, bomb blast, or sporting events such as American football or rugby. Immediate effects of TBI include unconsciousness and bleeding. These can lead to brain changes resulting in symptoms such as mood and personality changes, memory loss, and lack of concentration years later after the injury. Unfortunately, there is little understanding of the connection between the forces acting on the brain during TBI and the long-term changes one experiences.
Interestingly, Imperial College Faculties of Medicine and Engineering researchers have demonstrated the link between the forces that act on the brain during TBI and the long-term changes. The study published in Brain employed a computational brain injury model in combination with trials on rats’ brains.
Researchers develop a model to predict Brain damage
Dyson School of Design Engineering at Imperial College’s Dr. Mazdak Ghajari said that the initial damage after TBI takes milliseconds to happen, but this can trigger many changes resulting in on-going effects that manifest years later. Ghajari said that understanding the link between the two is vital in predicting individuals that will be at risk of long-term damage. Therefore, this can help in designing protection to prevent this kind of damage.
The team had previously developed a human-computer model to determine long term brain damage location following TBI with a focus on the brain’s “white matter.” Notably, the white matter contains nerve fibers, axons, which are vital in the brain networks that get altered in long-term brain damage. The researchers have tested the modeling approach to determine its accuracy in predicting damage in white matter in rats given mild TBI.