Traumatic brain injury is a debilitating injury and a significant health problem in the
United States that is estimated to occur in 1.6 to 1.8 million people annually. Axonal injury
is a common type of traumatic brain injury primarily characterized by damage to the axons.
Enhanced knowledge of the axonal deformation during a head impact may facilitate a better
understanding of the primary injury mechanism and secondary effects that may lead to functional
deficits and long-term neurodegeneration. This information may also enable the development
of improved diagnostic tools, protective measures, and rehabilitation treatments. A consensus
on the best way to study the axonal injury during the milder forms of traumatic brain injury,
such as concussion, is still lacking. The specific objectives of this study are as follows:
(1) to apply and explore the embedded element method as a viable numerical approach for white
matter modeling in the brain; (2) to implement this approach and examine the axonal strain damage
predicted by the model compared to other existing injury criterion; and (3) to apply this approach and
conduct a quantitative analysis examining the influence of impact direction
and overall axonal orientation on the extent of injury.