There has been an ongoing effort to reduce the occurrence of sports-related traumatic brain injury. These injuries are caused by an impact to the head and often lead to the damage of neural axons in the brain. This type of damage is classified as diffuse axonal injury (DAI) or traumatic axonal injury (TAI) [1]. One of the difficulties in studying the progression of axonal injury is that the structural signature of DAI cannot be readily visualized with conventional medical imaging modalities since the damage occurs at the cellular level [2]. This also makes the injury difficult to diagnose. Many researchers have turned to finite element (FE) models to study the development of diffuse axonal injury. FE models provide a means for observing the mechanical process of injury development from the loads to the head at the macroscale to the damage that results at the cellular level. However, for a finite element model to be a viable tool for studying DAI, the model must be able to accurately represent the behavior of the brain tissue, and it must be able to accurately predict injury. In this work, we address both of these issues in an effort to improve the material models and injury criteria used in current FE models of TBI. We represent the white matter with an anisotropic, hyper-viscoelastic constitutive model, incorporate the microstructure of the white matter through the use of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), and estimate injury using an axonal strain injury (ASI) criterion (Figure 1). We also develop a novel method to quantify the degree of axonal damage in the fiber tracts of the brain.

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