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Precise Mapping Shows How Brain Injuries Inflict Long-term Damage

Precise Mapping Shows How Brain Injuries Inflict Long-term Damage

On January 17th, 2021, research is published on Brain, showing a computational model of brain injury with experimental studies on rats' brains.


Researchers from the Faculties of Engineering and Medicine at Imperial, including the teams of Dr Mazdak Ghajari, Professor David Sharp, and Dr Magdalena Sastre have shown how forces acting on the brain during traumatic brain injury are linked to damage seen years after the initial trauma.


Long-term Effects of TBI are Hard to Predict

When the brain receives an impact, it shakes in a similar way, causing shear between adjacent parts. Injuries that come from different angles or at different locations can incur a difference in intensity and severity of the damage. Thus, the likely long-term effects are hard to predict and the design of appropriate protection for the patient is challenging to develop.

Although the severity of TBI can be quantified with a variety of measures, including the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score and the duration of loss of consciousness (LOC) or post-traumatic amnesia (PTA), how accurate the severity assessments can achieve remains unclear.

The New Computational Model

With the development of this new computational model, doctors can "now more accurately predict which injuries will cause severe, long-term damage, and potentially avert it," said Dr Ghajari.


This cross-disciplinary team of researchers at Imperial College London simulated the rats’ brains during injury, revealing the location and duration of mechanical forces linked to damage. This damage was induced in the rat brain and followed up after several weeks, which correlates to years of changes in a human brain. They found that the effect of shear stresses on the white matter, which is found in the deeper tissues of the brain, helped to predict the location of long-term damage. Shear stresses push two parts of the same object, in this case, the brain, in different directions.


“The initial damage during a TBI takes only milliseconds to occur, but it triggers many changes that result in ongoing effects which can be felt years later. Understanding the link between the two is crucial for predicting who is at risk for long-term damage, and how protection may be better designed to prevent this damage.” -- Dr Mazdak Ghajari



Dunning, Hayley. “Precise Mapping Shows How Brain Injuries Inflict Long-Term Damage.” Imperial News, 20 Jan. 2021,

Resources by Judy Zhu

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