Improved measurement of brain deformation during mild head acceleration using a novel tagged MRI sequence

Andrew K. Knutsen, Elizabeth Magrath, Julie E. McEntee, Fangxu Xing, Jerry L. Prince, Philip V. Bayly, John A. Butman, Dzung L. Pham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In vivo measurements of human brain deformation during mild acceleration are needed to help validate computational models of traumatic brain injury and to understand the factors that govern the mechanical response of the brain. Tagged magnetic resonance imaging is a powerful, noninvasive technique to track tissue motion in vivo which has been used to quantify brain deformation in live human subjects. However, these prior studies required from 72 to 144 head rotations to generate deformation data for a single image slice, precluding its use to investigate the entire brain in a single subject. Here, a novel method is introduced that significantly reduces temporal variability in the acquisition and improves the accuracy of displacement estimates. Optimization of the acquisition parameters in a gelatin phantom and three human subjects leads to a reduction in the number of rotations from 72 to 144 to as few as 8 for a single image slice. The ability to estimate accurate, well-resolved, fields of displacement and strain in far fewer repetitions will enable comprehensive studies of acceleration-induced deformation throughout the human brain in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3475-3481
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2014


  • Acceleration
  • Deformation
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Strain
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Rehabilitation


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