Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) nationwide. Despite this fact, most of the research conducted on TBIs has been focused on sports-related injury, or injuries suffered by members of the armed forces. However, a new research project being conducted by the University of Arizona’s College of Engineering is looking to create a tool that can calculate the likelihood of someone getting a TBI after different types of traffic collisions.

Traumatic brain injury causes a large portion of injury deaths in the United States each year, and early diagnosis and treatment of these injuries can prevent death and ameliorate a lifetime of recovery.

Findings From the University of Arizona Study

A mechanical engineering professor and director of the Computational Design Optimization of Engineering Systems, Samy Missoum, and graduate student Seyed Saeed Ahmadisoleymani published a paper that details how the probability of a TBI due to a car accident can be determined.

“Unlike with American football or military applications, there has not been much research done into the link between car crashes and TBI,” Missoum said. “We have developed the first steps of a method to assess the probability of TBI based on crash conditions, such as impact velocity and angle.”

TBI research typically involves conducting tests on animals or collecting data on athletes who have suffered brain injuries. Another approach researchers take when studying TBIs is purely computational in nature. This often means using mathematical tools to predict how a biological structure like the brain will perform when subjected to external forces. Missoum’s method of research combines both experimental and computational data. They used experimental data to simulate how a crash dummy moves in a traffic accident, and then applied motion data from the simulation to a computer model of the brain to see how it could be affected. This combination provides a starting point for a method the researchers hope will eventually be able to calculate the probability of a TBI after a car crash.

In theory, the process can make predictions if researchers are unsure about certain factors of a collision, like speed and angle of impact, or if they don’t have much information about the brain of the person involved in the crash. Though it is in the early stages of development, the goal of the project is to allow first responders to arrive at the scene of an accident and enter the information about the crash into a tool, which will determine the probability of a TBI at the scene.

What Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur as a Result of a Car Accident?

Even a minor traffic collision can result in a traumatic brain injury. There are a few different types of brain injuries, but they’re not always evident directly after the accident – which makes them more dangerous. Common TBIs that occur after a car accident include:

  • Concussion– Concussions occur when the brain receives trauma from a blow, or sudden movement and/or momentum change.
  • Contusion– This type of TBI occurs when a bruise develops on the brain. These injuries can be quite serious and can require invasive brain surgery to remove the contusion altogether.
  • Coup-contrecoup– This TBI involves contusions on both sides of the brain. They typically occur on the side of the brain that felt an impact, and on the opposite side.
  • Diffuse axonal– This type of injury is usually caused by an incredibly forceful rotation of the head, which in turn causes brain structures to be severed. Concussions are a much milder form of a diffuse axonal injury.
  • Penetration– Penetrating injuries are when an object has penetrated through the skull and into the brain.

The research being conducted by the University of Arizona may be able to help emergency responders know the likely types of TBIs the victims of specific accidents will have, and this can help them treat victims in a speedier manner. We hope this leads to fewer deaths and long-term injuries for individuals who receive a TBI in a traffic collision.

Call a New York Car Accident Attorney

Car accidents can happen in an instant, and the effects can be life-changing. Suffering a TBI in a wreck can lead to a lifelong struggle to recover. If you or a loved one has suffered due to someone else’s negligence, then call us at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro, Moses & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to hear how we can help.

Posted in: Brain Injury