Brain movement during an impact can elicit a traumatic brain injury, but tissue kinematics vary from person to person and knowledge regarding this variability is limited. This study examines spatio-temporal brain-skull displacement and brain tissue deformation across groups of subjects during a mild impact in vivo. The heads of two groups of participants were imaged while subjected to a mild (less than 350 rad s-2) impact during neck extension (NE, n = 10) and neck rotation (NR, n = 9). A kinematic atlas of displacement and strain fields averaged across all participants was constructed and compared against individual participant data. The atlas-derived mean displacement magnitude was 0.26 ± 0.13 mm for NE and 0.40 ± 0.26 mm for NR, which is comparable to the displacement magnitudes from individual participants. The strain tensor from the atlas displacement field exhibited maximum shear strain (MSS) of 0.011 ± 0.006 for NE and 0.017 ± 0.009 for NR and was lower than the individual MSS averaged across participants. The atlas illustrates common patterns, containing some blurring but visible relationships between anatomy and kinematics. Conversely, the direction of the impact, brain size, and fluid motion appear to underlie kinematic variability. These findings demonstrate the biomechanical roles of key anatomical features and illustrate common features of brain response for model evaluation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01633268.
Keywords: dynamic magnetic resonance imaging; finite strain; head impact; traumatic brain injury.