Important Variables In Modeling Traumatic Brain Injury

Despite differing objectives, any model designed to reliably produce experimental TBI should fulfill a number of criteria. The injury severity and the exact injury location must be defined, and the injury response must be quantifiable and reproducible not only in the same laboratory but also between different investigators. Additionally, the damage caused from the traumatic event should be part of a continuum, increasing with increasing mechanical forces applied to the head or brain. The most widely used models in the majority of studies employ standardized surgical protocols and techniques, including sham (uninjured) animals with identical surgical treatment to control for systemic variables. This experimental design controls for the possible influence of the operative procedure, anesthesia, changes in body or brain temperature, brain damage due to head restraint or the placement of intracranial probes, etc. on the posttraumatic sequelae. Additionally, the majority of the trauma devices employ computer-based measurements of the applied load, such as pressure gradients, the velocity of the impactor, or the speed of acceleration-deceleration forces to measure variations in the mechanical parameters that define inflicted injury severity. This information is used to make adjustments to the device and allows for the maintenance of a narrow range of inflicted injury severity within a particular study.

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