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March 25, 2009
7:00-8:30 PM

Schlafly Bottleworks, Maplewood, MO

Mechanics of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
What Happens to Your Brain When You Head a Soccer Ball?

Department Chair and Lilyan and E. Lisle Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Moderated by: Cynthia Wichelman, M.D.

Mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), including concussion, is the most prevalent form of head injury. It is estimated that over 300,000 concussions occur annually in the US as a result of participation in sports. Moderate to severe brain injury has long been known to lead to permanent cognitive impairment. Studies suggest that repeated mild traumatic brain injury can also lead to significant long-term cognitive decline. In boxers, dementia pugilistica is associated with a history of blows to the head, and professional soccer players who have repeatedly headed a soccer ball reportedly exhibit similar symptoms.

A number of fundamental questions remain open in the understanding of MTBI. Neither the threshold of force or acceleration required to cause concussion nor the exact mechanism of injury is known. People who have sustained one or more concussions are at increased risk for future concussion. The effects of concussion and repeated mild traumatic injury (e.g., shaking) in the developing brain remain to be determined. Impact to the skull clearly leads to deformation and damage of brain matter, but specific pathways and injury thresholds are not yet available.

Science On Tap is a place where, for the price of a beverage, anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology. Meetings take place outside a traditional academic context, in the Crown Room at Schlafly Bottleworks.

Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of the month during the academic year, usually from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The standard format is as follows: 20 minutes of presentation, followed by a 7 minute break for attendees to introduce themselves to each other at the table, and then an hour of discussion. Seating is limited to the first 100 people.  No reservations accepted.

Crown Room at the Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Ave.
Maplewood, MO 63143
(314) 241-2337

Register to receive e-mail announcements of future Science On Tap events.

Interested in learning about medicine? Check out Washington University's Mini-Medical School!

For more information: e-mail scienceontap@wustl.edu
or call (314) 935-5285