With the increase in the number of soldiers sustaining traumatic brain injury from military incidents and the recent attention on sports related traumatic brain injury, there has been a focused effort to develop preventative and treatment methods for traumatic brain injury (TBI). Traumatic brain injury is caused by mechanical loading to the head, such as from impacts, sudden accelerations, or blast loading, and the pathology can range from focal damage in the brain to widespread diffuse injury [1]. In this study, we investigate the injury mechanisms of diffuse axonal injury (DAI), which accounts for the second largest percentage of deaths due to brain trauma [2]. DAI is caused by sudden inertial loads to the head, and it is characterized by damage to neural axons. Despite the extensive research on DAI, the coupling between the mechanical loading to the head and the damage at the cellular level is still poorly understood. Unlike previous computational models that use macroscopic stress and strain measures to determine injury, a cellular injury criterion is used in this work as numerous studies have shown that cellular strain can be related to the functional damage of neurons. The effectiveness of using this cellular injury criterion to predict damage in a finite element model of DAI is investigated.

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