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 Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT

nachricht Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>