Understanding of in vivo brain biomechanical behavior is critical in the study of traumatic brain injury (TBI) mechanisms and prevention. Using tagged magnetic resonance imaging, we measured spatiotemporal brain deformations in 34 healthy human volunteers under mild angular accelerations of the head. Two-dimensional (2D) Lagrangian strains were examined throughout the brain in each subject. Strain metrics peaked shortly after contact with a padded stop, corresponding to the inertial response of the brain after head deceleration. Maximum shear strain of at least 3% was experienced at peak deformation by an area fraction (median±standard error) of 23.5±1.8% of cortical gray matter, 15.9±1.4% of white matter, and 4.0±1.5% of deep gray matter. Cortical gray matter strains were greater in the temporal cortex on the side of the initial contact with the padded stop and also in the contralateral temporal, frontal, and parietal cortex. These tissue-level deformations from a population of healthy volunteers provide the first in vivo measurements of full-volume brain deformation in response to known kinematics. Although strains differed in different tissue type and cortical lobes, no significant differences between male and female head accelerations or strain metrics were found. These cumulative results highlight important kinematic features of the brain's mechanical response and can be used to facilitate the evaluation of computational simulations of TBI.

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