A Leading Concussion Expert Explores Brain in Motion to Treat, Prevent Disabling Injuries
Understanding the biomechanics of a brain in motion and under physical stress is vital to improved treatment and prevention. Kurt and his lab teams deploy a combination of computational modeling and medical imaging techniques to understand the mechanical properties of the brain.
Once those properties are made clearer, he says, more accurate identification of various types of brain damage becomes possible, including concussions (as well as those due to aging). So too the proper therapies.
One recent set of findings, reported in a paper published in Physics Review Applied, discussed ways the brain physically reacts to impacts. The paper, which focuses on regions on the brain most vulnerable to damage, confirms the severe, abiding repercussions of strong impacts to the head that lead to concussions, neurological disorders and other injuries. The work has implications for helmet designers seeking better concussion metrics, as well as for industries working to develop enhanced safety standards.
Kurt’s team also created an award-winning video demonstrating how the brain, coupled with blood flow, moves with individual heartbeats. That video was significant in that, for the first time, brain tissue motions were synchronized with those of the veins and arteries — a new imaging method that could one day reveal the weak spots in blood vessels that bulge and eventually burst as aneurysms.