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TitleBiomechanics of closed head injury
AuthorsAnderson RWG, McLean AJ
TypeBook Chapter
AbstractThis chapter discusses current theories on the mechanisms involved in head and brain injuries resulting from a blunt impact to the head. The first section introduces some physical concepts that are germane to understanding the work that has been carried out in this area. Section two describes the methods that are most often used to study the biomechanics of the response of the brain during an impact to the head. Section three is a discussion of current theories that are used to describe the biomechanics of head injury. The fourth section reviews current head impact tolerance criteria. The chapter concludes with some comments on the likely direction of future research in this area, including the study of the biochemical events that follow impact loading to brain tissue. The study of the biomechanics of head injury concerns itself with the primary traumatic impact event and how the impact injures the skull and brain. Most paradigms of head injury incorporate the notions of 'primary' and 'secondary' injuries, with skull fractures, mass lesions and tissue tears being included in the former category, while the effects of raised ICP, and hypoxic ischemia being grouped in the latter category. However, for certain significant types of brain injury, such as axonal injury, the cascade of molecular events that result in injury appear to be common to forms of secondary white matter damage, and so the notion of primary and secondary axonal injury appears to need some reassessment: a traumatic head impact can be characterized as a physical event that disrupts tissue, which either injures the tissue directly or initiates a biochemical and physiological cascade that ultimately leads to brain injury. By understanding the characteristics of impact forces that make them injurious, researchers and engineers may find better ways to protect the head in potentially injurious environments.
Book DetailsHead injury : pathophysiology and management, 2nd edition, P.L. Reilly, R. Bullock (eds)
Page Range26-40
Page Count16
Notesavailable from CASR library on request

Anderson RWG, McLean AJ (2005). Biomechanics of closed head injury. In Head injury : pathophysiology and management, 2nd edition, P.L. Reilly, R. Bullock (eds) (pp. 26-40).