Resonance of human brain under head acceleration

Kaveh Laksari, Lyndia C. Wu, Mehmet Kurt, Calvin Kuo, David C. Camarillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Although safety standards have reduced fatal head trauma due to single severe head impacts, mild trauma from repeated head exposures may carry risks of long-term chronic changes in the brain's function and structure. To study the physical sensitivities of the brain to mild head impacts, we developed the first dynamic model of the skull-brain based on in vivo MRI data. We showed that the motion of the brain can be described by a rigid-body with constrained kinematics. We further demonstrated that skull-brain dynamics can be approximated by an under-damped system with a low-frequency resonance at around 15 Hz. Furthermore, from our previous field measurements, we found that head motions in a variety of activities, including contact sports, showa primary frequency of less than 20 Hz. This implies that typical head exposures may drive the brain dangerously close to itsmechanical resonance and lead to amplified brain-skull relative motions. Our results suggest a possible cause for mild brain trauma, which could occur due to repetitive low-acceleration head oscillations in a variety of recreational and occupational activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number0331
JournalJournal of the Royal Society Interface
Issue number108
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015


  • Injury risk criterion
  • Mild traumatic brain injury
  • Repetitive head exposure
  • Resonance frequency
  • Rigid body motion
  • Tagged MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering


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