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Biophysics Of Concussion

Report Number: WADC TR 58-193
Author: Hollister, Nathaniel R.
Author: Jolley, William P.
Author: Horne, Robert G.
Author: Friede, Reinhard
Corporate Author: N. R. Hollister, M. D. and Aero Medical Laboratory
Laboratory: Aero Medical Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1958-09
Pages: 82
Contract: AF 33(616)-2894
Project: 7220
Task: 71752
AD Number: AD0203385

This investigation was instituted to ascertain the anatomical and/or physiological factors involved when experimental "concussion was produced. Methods were developed for effecting a reproducible "concussion." The criterion used to determine when "concussion" was produced consisted of the measurement of abrogation of corneal reflex. Three principal factors thought to cause "concussion" were studied: namely, (1) rapid deceleration (acceleration concussion as defined by D. Denny-Brown), (2) total force imparted to the skull, and (3) stretch of the cervical region. A test drop rig was developed and instrumentation was used to measure the various force vectors. Varying experimental conditions eliminated one or more of the factors thought to cause "concussion," and the following conclusions were drawn: (1) Total force applied to the skull is not a factor in "concussion" under the test conditions. (2) Acceleration concussion is not a factor under test conditions. (3) Stretch of the cat's neck or some unknown factor, which can be altered by applying a muscle-tetanizing current, accounts for the "concussion" produced. Neurohistopathological studies were done on serial sections of the brain and cord to establish the site and degree of neural damage under various experimental conditions. These studies are discussed in Part II of this report.

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