3D Measurements of Acceleration-Induced Brain Deformation via Harmonic Phase Analysis and Finite-Element Models

Arnold Gomez, Andrew Knutsen, Fangxu Xing, Deva Chan, Yuan Chiao Lu, Dzung Pham, Philip V. Bayly, Jerry Ladd Prince

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective: To obtain dense spatiotemporal measurements of brain deformation from two distinct but complementary head motion experiments: linear and rotational accelerations. Methods: This study introduces a strategy for integrating harmonic phase analysis of tagged magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and finite element models to extract mechanically representative deformation measurements. The method was calibrated using simulated as well as experimental data, demonstrated in a phantom including data with image artifacts, and used to measure brain deformation in human volunteers undergoing rotational and linear acceleration. Results: Evaluation methods yielded a displacement error of 1.1 mm compared to human observers, and strain errors between 0.1 <formula><tex>$\pm$</tex></formula> 0.2% (mean <formula><tex>$\pm$</tex></formula> std. dev.) for linear acceleration and 0.7 <formula><tex>$\pm$</tex></formula> 0.3% for rotational acceleration. In the presence of inconsistent or missing data, we demonstrate an approach that can provide an error reduction of 86%. Analysis of results shows consistency with 2D motion estimation, agreement with external sensors, and the expected physical behavior of the brain. Conclusion: Mechanical regularization is useful for obtaining dense spatiotemporal measurements of in-vivo brain deformation under different loading regimes. Significance: The measurements suggest that the brain's 3D response to mild accelerations includes distinct patterns observable using practical MRI resolutions. This type of measurement can provide validation data for computer models for the study of traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • brain biomechanics
  • finite element method
  • finite strain
  • harmonic phase analysis
  • tagged MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering

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