The Influence of Neck Muscle Tonus and Posture on Brain Tissue Strain in Pedestrian Head Impacts 2014-22-0003
Pedestrians are one of the least protected groups in urban traffic and frequently suffer fatal head injuries. An important boundary condition for the head is the cervical spine, and it has previously been demonstrated that neck muscle activation is important for head kinematics during inertial loading. It has also been shown in a recent numerical study that a tensed neck musculature also has some influence on head kinematics during a pedestrian impact situation. The aim of this study was to analyze the influence on head kinematics and injury metrics during the isolated time of head impact by comparing a pedestrian with relaxed neck and a pedestrian with increased tonus. The human body Finite Element model THUMS Version 1.4 was connected to head and neck models developed at KTH and used in pedestrian-to-vehicle impact simulations with a generalized hood, so that the head would impact a surface with an identical impact response in all simulations. In order to isolate the influence of muscle tonus, the model was activated shortly before head impact so the head would have the same initial position prior to impact among different tonus. A symmetric and asymmetric muscle activation scheme that used high level of activation was used in order to create two extremes to investigate. It was found that for the muscle tones used in this study, the influence on the strain in the brain was very minor, in general about 1-14% change. A relatively large increase was observed in a secondary peak in maximum strains in only one of the simulated cases.