Methods and Systems to Implement a Surrogate Head Model and Directly Measure Brain/Skull Relative Displacement

Reference#: P02616

Americaís armed forces are sustaining attacks from explosions or blasts by rocket-propelled grenades, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and land mines almost daily in Iraq and Afghanistan. Blast injury accounts for 61% of soldiers killed and injured in Iraq. Civilians and military personnel working in the combat zones are at particular risk of sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) caused by blasts. (These TBIs may occur simultaneously with other more obvious life-threatening injuries.) In addition, 62% of military casualties who were exposed to blasts show evidence of TBIs, predominantly caused by IEDs.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have created a surrogate human head that has instrumentation for directly measuring the displacements, strains, and pressures experienced by the brain. It is used to investigate the headís response to impact loads, external blasts, or applied pressure waves without resorting to indirect measurement techniques such as high-speed X-rays or photography. This instrument enables accurate, precise, and real-time measurements and analysis of multiple and ongoing displacement events, even capturing minimal displacements on the order of 0.2 mm.

In previous technologies, the measurement of displacement and/or strain has been accomplished by inserting markers in the brain and using high speed X-rays to observe the motion of these markers. The displacements are then inferred from the marker movement. This measure of overall movement is very imprecise and leads to considerable errors. Further, it does not correlate the blast effects with specific tissue damage.

The surrogate human head makes it possible to determine how and where axons are being stretched to the point of permanent injury. This stretching is called diffuse axonal injury and has been linked to permanent brain injury and, in some cases, death.

Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 8,725,449 issued.

Mr. K. Chao
Phone: (443) 778-7927

Additional References:

Link to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office