Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study helps define headaches of whiplash

23.11.2004


If you happen to be looking left or right when your car is rear-ended, you could be lucky enough to avoid the headache of whiplash. A new study at the University of Alberta shows that whiplash injuries in low-speed accidents are much less likely if the victim’s head happens to be turned to either side instead of facing front when the vehicle is struck.



The research involving neck muscles is giving a solid scientific definition to whiplash that may help identify and establish soft tissue injuries--if any are actually suffered in the course of an accident.

Results from the study appear in the November, 2004 issue of Clinical Biomechanics. The findings, based on research begun at the university in 1999, will help clear up the murky definition of whiplash--injuries to the head and neck most commonly suffered in rear-end vehicle collisions, said Dr. Shrawan Kumar, a professor of physical therapy and neuroscience at the University of Alberta. "Having a scientific framework for whiplash injects a great deal of objectivity into a subjective realm where there are a lot of legal claims and counter-claims. It clears up some of the mystery surrounding the condition," said Dr.Kumar, lead author on the paper.


Using 20 healthy volunteers and a special sled equipped with a rotating chair (complete with a seatbelt) and a pneumatic piston, the researchers measured the response of six different neck muscles to gradually increased low-velocity impacts from eight different directions. The muscle responses were measured using surface electrodes.

Each volunteer was fitted at the forehead and top of the back with accelerometers--devices which measured the effect of impact on the head-neck motion. The acceleration of the chair was also recorded.

The tests revealed that there was less risk of injury when the subjects had their heads turned either to the right or to the left at the time of low-velocity impact (up to 10 km/h). "The act of turning the head tenses the muscles, which prevents movement of the neck and decreases the chances of soft tissue injury," Dr. Kumar said.

Low-velocity whiplash is one of the most contentious injuries in the legal arena. The effects of low-speed, rear-end collisions have not previously been extensively researched, and that has left a gray area in diagnosing soft-tissue injuries, Dr. Kumar said. The muscles and ligaments of the neck--not the bones--are more at risk in low-speed accidents, he noted.

The findings will indirectly benefit people who claim questionable whiplash injuries, he added. "This should prevent a person, if rear-ended, from assuming a ’sick role’, disabling oneself psychologically and socially, hoping to gain something." The information gathered from the research can also be used in developing safety features to protect drivers even in low-velocity collisions. This study is the latest in a series conducted on whiplash since 1999 by Dr. Kumar and his fellow researchers, Dr. Robert Ferrari and Yogesh Narayan.

In an earlier research project using similar test methods, Dr. Kumar and his colleagues determined that in a low-speed rear-end collision, it is the front ligatures of the neck, not the back ones, that are at greater risk of injury, and that the opposite is true for front-end collisions. This contradicts a common assumption that a rear-end collision will do the most damage to the back of the head and neck, Dr. Kumar said.

They also found that mere awareness of an impending impact reduces the head-neck acceleration by 40 per cent, mitigating the risk of injury. "Based on scientific evidence, we can now show there is a certain degree of safety built into the human system which needs to be exceeded before injury can be precipitated."

Bev Betkowski | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ualberta.ca

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Millions through license revenues

27.04.2017 | Health and Medicine

The TU Ilmenau develops tomorrow’s chip technology today

27.04.2017 | Information Technology

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>