Pediatric head injury prediction: investigating the distance between the skull and the brain using medical imaging - biomed 2009

Biomed Sci Instrum. 2009:45:161-6.


Injuries caused by Motor Vehicle Crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death and head injury for children in the United States. Improved finite element models that incorporate the correct size and shape of the pediatric brain and skull with current injury prevention metrics would improve the prediction of such pediatric head injuries. As an individual ages the shape of his/her brain, skull and meninges change with age. An accurate model needs to incorporate the interactive nature of these changes throughout pediatric development. The focus of this study is to quantify how the thickness and volume of the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) layer change with age in the pediatric population. The results of this study and others will be incorporated in creating a pediatric finite element model at various ages. This model may then be used by the automotive industry or in the study and analysis of shaken baby syndrome (SBS). The data-set consisted of fifty-nine individuals ranging in age from newborn to twenty-one years of age. Data was collected on the thickness of the CSF layer on the MR scans by taking forty measurements at specified points on three slices for each individual. The volume of the CSF layer was also quantified by making a mask of the CSF layer on all individuals. Both the thickness measurements and the volume analyses were then normalized utilizing a centroid value for each individual. Both the CSF thickness measurements and the volume analyses show a general logistic decrease in the amount of CSF from infancy to twenty-one years of age. Large CSF variation between individuals of the same age was observed; thus, future studies should utilize a longitudinal cohort study to control for individual differences in CSF. Sexual dimorphism in the size and shape of the CSF layer should also be investigated.