Investigations of primary blast-induced traumatic brain injury


  1. Sawyer, T.W.
  2. Josey, T.
  3. Wang, Y.
  4. Villanueva, M.
  5. Ritzel, D.V.
  6. Nelson, P.
  7. Lee. J.J.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Suffield Research Centre, Ralston AB (CAN);Dyn-FX Consulting Limited, Amherstburg ON (CAN)
The development of an advanced blast simulator (ABS) has enabled the reproducible generation of single pulse shock waves that simulate free-field blast with high fidelity. Studies with rodents in the ABS demonstrated the necessity of head restraint during head-only exposures. When the head was not restrained, violent global head motion was induced by pressures that would not produce similar movement of a target the size and mass of a human head. This scaling artefact produced changes in brain function that were reminiscent of traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to impact acceleration effects. Restraint of the rodent head eliminated these, but still produced subtle changes in brain biochemistry, showing that blast-induced pressure waves do cause brain deficits. Further experiments were carried out with rat brain cell aggregate cultures that enabled the conduct of studies without the gross movement encountered when using rodents. The suspension nature of this model was also exploited to minimize the boundary effects that complicate the interpretation of primary blast studies using surface cultures. Using this system, brain tissue was found not only to be sensitive to pressure changes, but also able to discriminate between the highly defined single-pulse shock waves produced by underwater blast and the complex pressure history exposures experienced by aggregates encased within a sphere and subjected to simulated air blast. The nature of blast-induced primary TBI requires a multidis
Advanced Blast Simulator;primary blast;tissue culture;traumatic brain injury (TBI);underwater blast
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2017-P089 — External Literature
Date of publication
01 Oct 2017
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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