Soft tissue deformation in abusive head trauma Event as iCalendar


25 September 2017

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground floor seminar room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds St, Auckland Central

Nikini Puhulwelle Gamage

Please note that this is happening on Monday 25 September.

An ABI seminar by Nikini Gamage, Auckland Bioengineering Institute.


Abusive head trauma (AHT), previously termed shaken baby syndrome (SBS), refers to head injuries inflicted on young infants by their caregivers. Although violent shaking has been implicated, there is currently a paucity of scientific evidence around the causes of these injuries. The objective of this thesis is to use finite element (FE) models to predict the deformation of soft tissues in the human infant head under prescribed shaking motion, and to examine whether these deformations are sufficient to cause injury. Phantom and human studies were investigated to validate the FE modelling framework used to create the infant model.

Cube phantoms were constructed to mimic the brain, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and the fontanelle of an infant. To investigate the relative motion between the brain and the skull due to a shake, rotational motion experiments were conducted on cylindrical phantoms. The computational techniques were then validated against measured adult in vivo brain deformations where the head was experiencing rotational motions.

An infant head model was then created using the validated techniques. The bridging veins were predicted to stretch enough for them to rupture, indicating that subdural haematomas would occur. The von Mises stresses on the brain predicted by the model indicated that it did not meet the threshold (for adult humans) required for severe traumatic brain injury.

The findings from these experiments will help to establish a relationship between the injuries seen in mistreated infants and a shaking action.