Researchers study how brain is protected from injury

There are membranes that cushion the brain if there is a blow to the skull. For some Pennsylvania residents who incurred a traumatic brain injury, those membranes were not able to sufficiently do so. According to research that appeared in the Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, researchers are examining the role of these membranes and how much protection they provide.

Researchers attached a pillow that created vibrations in the skull to six volunteers and measured the vibrations using sensors attached to a mouth guard. They also used an imaging technique, magnetic resonance elastography, to measure the brain’s motion. They compared the brain’s motion with a gelatin model and concluded that the protective membranes around the human brain absorbed around 90 percent of the motion.

Researchers hope to streamline the experiment, including removing the mouth guard, so that they can broaden the base of participants. With large groups, they can begin to break people down into categories, such as age and gender, to find out if some groups are more likely to be injured than others They also hope to eventually use their findings to reduce the likelihood of TBIs.

A person might sustain a brain injury in a number of different ways including a car accident, a fall, or an accident during a sport, such as skiing or football. In some cases, another party might be liable in the injury. For example, if a child sustains a TBI while playing a sport at school, the school might be held responsible. However, there might be an additional level of difficulty with some TBIs. Symptoms might not appear immediately, so in some cases, it could be more challenging to tie the appearance of the symptoms directly to the incident.