Brain Injury Biomechanics
There are many events which can result in brain injury, such as a blow to the head, the head striking an object, a penetration of the skull such as in a gunshot, or particularly relevant to auto accident cases, by rapid acceleration and deceleration of the brain. We will on this page provide you guiding principles within the field of brain injury biomechanics to understand the nature of how the brain gets injured.
In each of the above events, the brain can be injured both by impact and rotational or shear forces. While it is the common conception that impact damage comes from blows to the head and shear damage from whiplash forces, both types of damage can occur from either brain injury biomechanics.
Impact damage tends to be focal, meaning concentrated in specific parts of the brain, whereas shear injuries tend to be diffuse, meaning occurring throughout widespread portions of the brain. Thus, the term “Diffuse Axonal Injury” meaning widespread injury to the axons, the long thin portion of the neuron. These are the cells when are damaged cause the injury to the brain. Brain function all starts with the axon’s. They can be compared to the electrical system. Each wire has to be connected properly for any mechanical item to work properly Once torn or damaged the axon can not work properly and here is where the damage comes in. If the axon can no longer communicate properly with other cells the other cells are not able to do their job either. It is said that axons do not repair themselves. Eventually other cells may be trained to do the job that the torn Axons were responsible for. Some of the damage may never be corrected.
Mechanisms of Brain Injury:
- A Blow to the Head;
- The Head Hitting an Object;
- A Rapid Acceleration/Deceleration Movement, such as Whiplash.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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