AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018

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New Technology For Use In Military Vehicles May Protect Troops From Blast-Induced Brain Injury

Elastic frame design reduces blast acceleration up to 80 percent; technology could be adapted for vehicle bumpers, other uses

 

Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering have developed a new military vehicle shock absorbing device that may protect troops from traumatic brain injury (TBI) after a land mine blast. Over the past 18 years of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than 250,000 troops have suffered such injuries.

The research, conducted jointly by Gary Fiskum, PhD, M. Jane Matjasko Professor for Research and Vice-Chair, Department of Anesthesiology at UMSOM, and William Fourney, PhD, Associate Dean of the Clark School, Keystone Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Dynamic Effects Laboratory, is supported by the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership: MPowering the State, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).

New approach to study of blast-induced TBI

Prior to this study, most research in this area focused on the effects of rapid changes in barometric pressure, also known as overpressure. “This is the only research so far to model the effects of under-vehicle blasts on the occupants,” said Dr. Fiskum. “We have produced new insights into the causes of TBI experienced by vehicle occupants, even in the absence of significant pressure changes.” The research has led to the development of materials and vehicle frame design that greatly reduce injury caused by under-vehicle explosions.

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