EAGER:Development of a Novel MRI Compatible Shock Tube and Method for the Study of Blast Induced Traumatic Brain Injury Grant uri icon


  • Proposal Number: 1449717 PI: Moreno, Michael This NSF EAGER project is focused on the development of a novel imaging compatible shock wave technology and experimental method to investigate the effects of blast induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI). TBI has been called the signature injury of the recent wars in the Middle East, with estimates of as many as 40% of returning veterans suffering from some kind of TBI. Research in the field of bTBI is poised to enable better prevention, detection, and treatment of bTBI in the future, benefiting the armed services as well as injured soldiers themselves and even the civilian population by a better understanding of TBI that may translate into non-blast TBI. Additionally, this project will support unique educational opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students and Texas A&M University. Technical description This NSF EAGER project is potentially transformative in that (1) it could provide a diagnostic method to predict potential long-term effects of exposure to mild to moderate bTBI, (2) it will allow unprecedented access to time sensitive bTBI data, using a novel MRI compatible experimental device to produce blast-like pressure waveforms. bTBI research has increased due to the prevalence of blast related brain injuries in the recent Middle Eastern wars. Of particular interest to this project are the long-term effects of exposure to mild and moderate bTBI, as it is difficult to diagnose when problems might develop following exposure ? which often leads to repeated exposure. Our preliminary data shows a single exposure to a mild blast can produce adverse effects that manifest six months after exposure. In order to study the effects, bTBI is often induced in animal models using shock tubes and similar devices. An important limitation of this approach is that the pressure profiles produced by conventional shock tube designs do not correspond well with the pressure profiles associated with military ordnance. In this project, computational modeling will be used to identify the effects of varying shock tube design parameters such that the design can be optimized to produce pressure profiles that are more representative of those associated with explosive devices. Furthermore, the shock tube design will incorporate materials that are MRI compatible. This is important as little is known about the immediate structural/mechanical changes in the brain during and/or immediately following blast wave exposure. Due to the mechanical nature of the injury, it is hypothesized that shock wave exposure may produce a deleterious effect on the mechanical properties of brain tissue. Elastography and diffusion tensor imaging can then be used to quantify any mechanical changes in the brain immediately following blast wave exposure. Changes in mechanical properties will then be correlated with the long term effects observed in future animal studies and a model of the effects of the interaction between the blast wave and the brain tissue will be developed.

date/time interval

  • 2014 - 2017