Can shockwaves cause brain damage?

This wave of energy can cause subtle but damaging effects on the brain. To better understand how shock waves damage the brain and contribute to traumatic brain injuries, ONR supports the work of Dr. A shock wave is the shock wave, or wall of compressed air, that comes out of the epicenter of an explosion. In addition to the physical consequences of shrapnel and other chemical elements, the shock wave alone can cause serious injuries to lungs and the brain.

In the brain, a shock wave can pass through soft tissue, with potentially devastating effects. Exposure to explosive overpressure, a major cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI), can occur during combat or military training. Traumatic brain injury, which is usually mild, is considered an injury characteristic of recent fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Low-intensity primary traumatic brain injury (TBI), caused by exposure to an explosive shock wave, usually leaves no obvious external physical signs. Numerous studies have been conducted to understand its biological effects; however, the role of shockwave energy in relation to BTBi remains poorly understood.

This report combines shock wave analysis with established biological effects in the brain of mice to provide information on the effects of shock wave physics on low-intensity BTA outcomes both in outdoor environments and in environments with shock tubes. Laboratory experiments show that people who survive explosions can continue to carry cell damage that can cause psychological problems. According to the “Missouri explosion” model, static, reflected and dynamic pressure peaks, the rise time, the duration of positive phases, the velocity of particles and shocks and momentum, and their relationship with nanoscale brain injuries that occur when the head is not moving are recorded. The workshops discussed the knowledge acquired in recent years in relation to basic scientific methods, experimental findings, diagnosis, therapy and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury and BINT.

In addition, experiments have shown that there is a certain degree of pressure transmission from the head down through the spine, but not in the opposite direction (from the spine to the brain). Compared to the more prominent skulls of rats and pigs, a human's thinner skull increases the risk of traumatic brain injury. Joe Rosen, professor of surgery at Dartmouth Medical School, believes that the group scaling law is a promising opportunity to identify a long-sought mechanism for traumatic brain injury induced by a explosion. Based on the various signal intensities, it was apparent that BBB damage is not anatomically uniform and that certain areas of the brain are more susceptible to vascular leakage than others (Figures 5A and 5B).

However, Franck agrees that there is still a long way to go before researchers know for sure how blasts affect the brain. Franck hypothesizes that shock waves from explosions cause a phenomenon in the human brain called cavitation, the same process that produces bubbles in water near a ship's propeller. For this purpose, the extracted brains were kept in 10% normal buffered formalin at room temperature (RT) for 24 h, and then transferred to PBS and kept at 4°C until standard processing and embedded in paraffin. This imaging method, with a sensitivity 1000 times greater than the conventional ultraviolet (UV) spectrophotometric method, makes it possible to quantify vascular leakage in several areas of the brain.