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Cervical spinal cord injury using biomechanical experimentation
Published October 16, 1995 by Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine in United States
This study was designed to determine the correlation between cervical spinal cord pressures and vertebral injuries routinely encountered in motor vehicle crashes. A physical model of the spinal cord was developed to determine the pressures along the entire length of the cord at each of the seven vertebral levels. Initially, tests were done to determine the spinal cord pressures with an artificial model inserted into the cadaver spinal column undergoing dorsal impact experiments. The pressure distributions were determined at various input energies. Subsequent tests involved the use of this physical spinal cord model to record pressures in intact human cadaver head-neck complexes subjected to dynamic loads, replicate most commonly seen traumatic cervical spine injuries, examine the output pressure time-histories under the known external loading conditions, and correlate the pressures with the temporal kinematics of the spinal components and the resulting pathology. The instrumented artificial spinal cord is a valuable tool to link the data from experimental animal studies, quantifying the neurologic deficit with respect to a known dynamic input to the spinal cord, and to the data on the biomechanics of the serious fracture~dislocation injury mechanisms of the cervical column. Results also indicate that a pressure of 0.35 MPa may represent human cervical spinal cord injury tolerance.