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Andrew Post, T. Blaine Hoshizaki, Roger Zemek, Michael D. Gilchrist, David Koncan, Lauren Dawson, Wesley Chen, Andrée-Anne Ledoux and the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) 5P Concussion Team

OBJECTIVE

Currently, little is known about the biomechanics of head impact for concussion in youths (ages 5 to 18 years). Even less is known about the biomechanical characteristics and variables related to head impacts that may be useful in differentiating between transient and persistent postconcussion symptoms in a youth population. The purpose of this research was to examine the differences in biomechanics of youth head impact for transient postconcussion symptoms (TPCSs) and persistent postconcussion symptoms (PPCSs) by using data from a hospital population.

METHODS

In a laboratory setting and using physical, computational, and finite element models, the authors reconstructed falling events in a large cohort of patients who had sustained a brain injury that resulted in transient or persistent postconcussion symptoms. The falling events and resulting concussions for the TPCS and PPCS patient groups were analyzed in terms of force, energy, peak resultant linear and rotational accelerations, and maximum principal strain in the gray and white matter of the brain, as well as measurements of cumulative strain damage.

RESULTS

The results indicated that there were no significant differences between the groups for any of the variables analyzed.

CONCLUSIONS

With methods derived for use in an adult population, the magnitudes of peak linear acceleration for the youth data set were determined to be above the 50% risk of injury. The youth data set showed higher brain tissue strain responses for lower energy and impact velocities than measured in adults, suggesting that youths are at higher risk of concussive injury at lower event severities. A trend shown by some variables indicated that larger magnitudes of response were associated with PPCSs, but no single measurement variable consistently differentiated between the TPCS and PPCS groups. It is possible that using the biomechanics of head and brain responses to predict a subjective symptom load may not be appropriate. To enhance future biomechanical analyses, further investigations should include the use of quantifiable measures of brain injury linked to clinical outcomes and possible confounding factors such as history of brain injury and patient predisposition.

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Andrew Post, T. Blaine Hoshizaki, Michael D. Gilchrist, David Koncan, Lauren Dawson, Wesley Chen, Andrée-Anne Ledoux, Roger Zemek and The Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) 5P Concussion Team

OBJECTIVE

Concussion is a common topic of research as a result of the short- and long-term effects it can have on the affected individual. Of particular interest is whether previous concussions can lead to a biomechanical susceptibility, or vulnerability, to incurring further head injuries, particularly for youth populations. The purpose of this research was to compare the impact biomechanics of a concussive event in terms of acceleration and brain strains of 2 groups of youths: those who had incurred a previous concussion and those who had not. It was hypothesized that the youths with a history of concussion would have lower-magnitude biomechanical impact measures than those who had never suffered a previous concussion.

METHODS

Youths who had suffered a concussion were recruited from emergency departments across Canada. This pool of patients was then separated into 2 categories based on their history of concussion: those who had incurred 1 or more previous concussions, and those who had never suffered a concussion. The impact event that resulted in the brain injury was reconstructed biomechanically using computational, physical, and finite element modeling techniques. The output of the events was measured in biomechanical parameters such as energy, force, acceleration, and brain tissue strain to determine if those patients who had a previous concussion sustained a brain injury at lower magnitudes than those who had no previously reported concussion.

RESULTS

The results demonstrated that there was no biomechanical variable that could distinguish between the concussion groups with a history of concussion versus no history of concussion.

CONCLUSIONS

The results suggest that there is no measureable biomechanical vulnerability to head impact related to a history of concussions in this youth population. This may be a reflection of the long time between the previous concussion and the one reconstructed in the laboratory, where such a long period has been associated with recovery from injury.