Motor vehicle crashes are the most common cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to traumatic brain injury among people aged 15 to 34, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aerospace and mechanical engineering professor Samy Missoum, who is also director of the Computational Design Optimization of Engineering Systems, or CODES Laboratory, and graduate student Seyed Saeed Ahmadisoleymani recently published a paper in Computer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering that details a new method for calculating the probability of a TBI due to a car accident.

"We have developed the first steps of a method to assess the probability of TBI based on crash conditions, such as impact velocity and angle."

Other approaches are purely computational -- for instance, using finite element models, which are mathematical tools to predict how a system like the brain will behave when subjected to external forces.

He uses experimental data to simulate how a dummy moves in a car crash and applies motion data from the simulation to a computer model of the brain to see how it would be affected.

This fusion of data provides the basis for a method researchers hope will eventually be able to calculate the probability of TBI after a car crash.

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