Investigation of Traumatic Brain Injuries Using the Next Generation of Simulated Injury Monitor (SIMon) Finite Element Head Model 2008-22-0001
The objective of this study was to investigate potential for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) using a newly developed, geometrically detailed, finite element head model (FEHM) within the concept of a simulated injury monitor (SIMon). The new FEHM is comprised of several parts: cerebrum, cerebellum, falx, tentorium, combined pia-arachnoid complex (PAC) with cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), ventricles, brainstem, and parasagittal blood vessels. The model's topology was derived from human computer tomography (CT) scans and then uniformly scaled such that the mass of the brain represents the mass of a 50th percentile male's brain (1.5 kg) with the total head mass of 4.5 kg. The topology of the model was then compared to the preliminary data on the average topology derived from Procrustes shape analysis of 59 individuals. Material properties of the various parts were assigned based on the latest experimental data. After rigorous validation of the model using neutral density targets (NDT) and pressure data, the stability of FEHM was tested by loading it simultaneously with translational (up to 400 g) combined with rotational (up to 24,000 rad/s2) acceleration pulses in both sagittal and coronal planes. Injury criteria were established in the manner shown in Takhounts et al. (2003a). After thorough validation and injury criteria establishment (cumulative strain damage measure – CSDM for diffuse axonal injuries (DAI), relative motion damage measure – RMDM for acute subdural hematoma (ASDH), and dilatational damage measure - DDM for contusions and focal lesions), the model was used in investigation of mild TBI cases in living humans based on a set of head impact data taken from American football players at the collegiate level. It was found that CSDM and especially RMDM correlated well with angular acceleration and angular velocity. DDM was close to zero for most impacts due to their mild severity implying that cavitational pressure anywhere in the brain was not reached. Maximum principal strain was found to correlate well with RMDM and angular head kinematic measures. Maximum principal stress didn't correlate with any kinematic measure or injury metric. The model was then used in the investigation of brain injury potential in NHTSA conducted side impact tests. It was also used in parametric investigations of various “what if” scenarios, such as side versus frontal impact, to establish a potential link between head kinematics and injury outcomes. The new SIMon FEHM offers an advantage over the previous version because it is geometrically more representative of the human head. This advantage, however, is made possible at the expense of additional computational time.