Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Biomechanics and modeling in mechanobiology


There exists several numerical approaches to describe the active contractile behaviour of skeletal muscles. These models range from simple one-dimensional to more advanced three-dimensional ones; especially, three-dimensional models take up the cause of describing complex contraction modes in a realistic way. However, the validation of such concepts is challenging, as the combination of geometry, material and force characteristics is so far not available from the same muscle. To this end, we present in this study a comprehensive data set of the rabbit soleus muscle consisting of the muscles' characteristic force responses (active and passive), its three-dimensional shape during isometric, isotonic and isokinetic contraction experiments including the spatial arrangement of muscle tissue and aponeurosis-tendon complex, and the fascicle orientation throughout the whole muscle at its optimal length. In this way, an extensive data set is available giving insight into the three-dimensional geometry of the rabbit soleus muscle and, further, allowing to validate three-dimensional numerical models.

Concepts: Mathematics, Cardiac muscle, Glycogen, Muscle contraction, Muscular system, Manifold, Real number, Complex number


It is proposed that the external asymmetric formation of callus tissues that forms naturally about an oblique bone fracture can be predicted computationally. We present an analysis of callus formation for two cases of bone fracture healing: idealised and subject-specific oblique bone fractures. Plane strain finite element (FE) models of the oblique fractures were generated to calculate the compressive strain field experienced by the immature callus tissues due to interfragmentary motion. The external formations of the calluses were phenomenologically simulated using an optimisation style algorithm that iteratively removes tissue that experiences low strains from a large domain. The resultant simulated spatial formation of the healing tissues for the two bone fracture cases showed that the calluses tended to form at an angle equivalent to the angle of the oblique fracture line. The computational results qualitatively correlated with the callus formations found in vivo. Consequently, the proposed methods show potential as a means of predicting callus formation in pre-clinical testing.

Concepts: Osteoporosis, Bone fracture, Orthopedic surgery, Bone fractures, Bone healing, Osteology, Fibrocartilage callus, Catagmatic


Blood flow plays a critical role in regulating embryonic cardiac growth and development, with altered flow leading to congenital heart disease. Progress in the field, however, is hindered by a lack of quantification of hemodynamic conditions in the developing heart. In this study, we present a methodology to quantify blood flow dynamics in the embryonic heart using subject-specific computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models. While the methodology is general, we focused on a model of the chick embryonic heart outflow tract (OFT), which distally connects the heart to the arterial system, and is the region of origin of many congenital cardiac defects. Using structural and Doppler velocity data collected from optical coherence tomography, we generated 4D ([Formula: see text]) embryo-specific CFD models of the heart OFT. To replicate the blood flow dynamics over time during the cardiac cycle, we developed an iterative inverse-method optimization algorithm, which determines the CFD model boundary conditions such that differences between computed velocities and measured velocities at one point within the OFT lumen are minimized. Results from our developed CFD model agree with previously measured hemodynamics in the OFT. Further, computed velocities and measured velocities differ by [Formula: see text]15 % at locations that were not used in the optimization, validating the model. The presented methodology can be used in quantifications of embryonic cardiac hemodynamics under normal and altered blood flow conditions, enabling an in-depth quantitative study of how blood flow influences cardiac development.

Concepts: Blood, Heart, Medical imaging, Artery, Vein, Fluid mechanics, Hemodynamics, Computational fluid dynamics


In this work, we address the simulation of three-dimensional arterial blood flow and its effect on the stress state of arterial walls. The novel contribution is the unprecedented combination of several modeling techniques to account for (1) the fact that known configurations for the arterial wall are in a preloaded state, (2) the compliance of the vessel segments, (3) proper boundary data over the non-physical interfaces resulting from the isolation of an arterial district from the rest of the arterial tree, (4) the presence of surrounding tissues in which the vessel is embedded and (5) residual stress state due to pre-stretch. Firstly, we formulate both the forward mechanical problem when the reference (zero-load) configuration is assumed to be known and, the preload problem arising when the known domain is a configuration at equilibrium with a certain load state (typically due to internal pressure and tethering forces). Then, two additional complexities are faced: the fluid-structure interaction problem that follows when the compliant vessels are coupled with the blood flow, and the introduction of non-physical boundaries coming from the artificial isolation of the arterial district from the original vessel. This, in turn, posses the problem of coupling dimensionally heterogeneous models to incorporate the effect of upstream and downstream systemic impedances. Additionally, a viscoelastic support on the external surface of the vessel is also incorporated. Two examples are presented to quantify in a physiologically consistent scenario the differences in simulation results when either considering or not the preload state of arterial walls. These computational simulations shed light on the validity of simplifying hypotheses in most hemodynamic models.

Concepts: Blood vessel, Artery, Continuum mechanics, Simulation, Operations research, Force, Fluid mechanics, Problem solving


Biological soft tissues experience damage and failure as a result of injury, disease, or simply age; examples include torn ligaments and arterial dissections. Given the complexity of tissue geometry and material behavior, computational models are often essential for studying both damage and failure. Yet, because of the need to account for discontinuous phenomena such as crazing, tearing, and rupturing, continuum methods are limited. Therefore, we model soft tissue damage and failure using a particle/continuum approach. Specifically, we combine continuum damage theory with Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH). Because SPH is a meshless particle method, and particle connectivity is determined solely through a neighbor list, discontinuities can be readily modeled by modifying this list. We show, for the first time, that an anisotropic hyperelastic constitutive model commonly employed for modeling soft tissue can be conveniently implemented within a SPH framework and that SPH results show excellent agreement with analytical solutions for uniaxial and biaxial extension as well as finite element solutions for clamped uniaxial extension in 2D and 3D. We further develop a simple algorithm that automatically detects damaged particles and disconnects the spatial domain along rupture lines in 2D and rupture surfaces in 3D. We demonstrate the utility of this approach by simulating damage and failure under clamped uniaxial extension and in a peeling experiment of virtual soft tissue samples. In conclusion, SPH in combination with continuum damage theory may provide an accurate and efficient framework for modeling damage and failure in soft tissues.

Concepts: Soft tissue sarcoma, Particle physics, Tissues, Model theory, Model, Soft tissue, Soft tissue disorder, 3D computer graphics


Real-time quantification of head impacts using wearable sensors is an appealing approach to assess concussion risk. Traditionally, sensors were evaluated for accurately measuring peak resultant skull accelerations and velocities. With growing interest in utilizing model-estimated tissue responses for injury prediction, it is important to evaluate sensor accuracy in estimating tissue response as well. Here, we quantify how sensor kinematic measurement errors can propagate into tissue response errors. Using previous instrumented mouthguard validation datasets, we found that skull kinematic measurement errors in both magnitude and direction lead to errors in tissue response magnitude and distribution. For molar design instrumented mouthguards susceptible to mandible disturbances, 150-400% error in skull kinematic measurements resulted in 100% error in regional peak tissue response. With an improved incisor design mitigating mandible disturbances, errors in skull kinematics were reduced to <50%, and several tissue response errors were reduced to <10%. Applying 30[Formula: see text] rotations to reference kinematic signals to emulate sensor transformation errors yielded below 10% error in regional peak tissue response; however, up to 20% error was observed in peak tissue response for individual finite elements. These findings demonstrate that kinematic resultant errors result in regional peak tissue response errors, while kinematic directionality errors result in tissue response distribution errors. This highlights the need to account for both kinematic magnitude and direction errors and accurately determine transformations between sensors and the skull.

Concepts: Measurement, Error, Classical mechanics, Acceleration, Velocity, Kinematics, Observational error, Result


Reliable prediction and diagnosis of concussion is important for its effective clinical management. Previous model-based studies largely employ peak responses from a single element in a pre-selected anatomical region of interest (ROI) and utilize a single training dataset for injury prediction. A more systematic and rigorous approach is necessary to scrutinize the entire white matter (WM) ROIs as well as ROI-constrained neural tracts. To this end, we evaluated injury prediction performances of the 50 deep WM regions using predictor variables based on strains obtained from simulating the 58 reconstructed American National Football League head impacts. To objectively evaluate performance, repeated random subsampling was employed to split the impacts into independent training and testing datasets (39 and 19 cases, respectively, with 100 trials). Univariate logistic regressions were conducted based on training datasets to compute the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC), while accuracy, sensitivity, and specificity were reported based on testing datasets. Two tract-wise injury susceptibilities were identified as the best overall via pair-wise permutation test. They had comparable AUC, accuracy, and sensitivity, with the highest values occurring in superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF; 0.867-0.879, 84.4-85.2, and 84.1-84.6%, respectively). Using metrics based on WM fiber strain, the most vulnerable ROIs included genu of corpus callosum, cerebral peduncle, and uncinate fasciculus, while genu and main body of corpus callosum, and SLF were among the most vulnerable tracts. Even for one un-concussed athlete, injury susceptibility of the cingulum (hippocampus) right was elevated. These findings highlight the unique injury discriminatory potentials of computational models and may provide important insight into how best to incorporate WM structural anisotropy for investigation of brain injury.

Concepts: Cerebrum, White matter, Corpus callosum, Receiver operating characteristic, Binary classification, Predictor, National Football League, Genu of the corpus callosum


The two main load bearing tissues of the intervertebral disc are the nucleus pulposus and the annulus fibrosus. Both tissues are composed of the same basic components, but differ in their organization and relative amounts. With degeneration, the clear distinction between the two tissues disappears. The changes in biochemical content lead to changes in mechanical behaviour of the intervertebral disc. The aim of the current study was to investigate if well-documented moderate degeneration at the biochemical and fibre structure level leads to instability of the lumbar spine. By taking into account biochemical and ultrastructural changes to the extracellular matrix of degenerating discs, a set of constitutive material parameters were determined that described the individual tissue behaviour. These tissue biomechanical models were then used to simulate dynamic behaviour of the degenerated spinal motion segment, which showed instability in axial rotation, while a stabilizing effect in the other two principle bending directions. When a shear load was applied to the degenerated spinal motion segment, no sign of instability was found. This study found that reported changes to the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus matrix during moderate degeneration lead to a more stable spinal motion segment and that such biomechanical considerations should be incorporated into the general pathophysiological understanding of disc degeneration and how its progress could affect low back pain and its treatments thereof.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Extracellular matrix, Skeletal system, Lumbar vertebrae, Vertebral column, Tissue, Intervertebral disc, Stability


Fractures of bone account 25% of all paediatric injuries (Cooper et al. in J Bone Miner Res 19:1976-1981, 2004. ). These can be broadly categorised into accidental or inflicted injuries. The current clinical approach to distinguish between these two is based on the clinician’s judgment, which can be subjective. Furthermore, there is a lack of studies on paediatric bone to provide evidence-based information on bone strength, mainly due to the difficulties of obtaining paediatric bone samples. There is a need to investigate the behaviour of children’s bones under external loading. Such data will critically enhance our understanding of injury tolerance of paediatric bones under various loading conditions, related to injuries, such as bending and torsional loads. The aim of this study is therefore to investigate the response of paediatric femora under two types of loading conditions, bending and torsion, using a CT-based finite element approach, and to determine a relationship between bone strength and age/body mass of the child. Thirty post-mortem CT scans of children aged between 0 and 3 years old were used in this study. Two different boundary conditions were defined to represent four-point bending and pure torsional loads. The principal strain criterion was used to estimate the failure moment for both loading conditions. The results showed that failure moment of the bone increases with the age and mass of the child. The predicted failure moment for bending, external and internal torsions were 0.8-27.9, 1.0-31.4 and 1.0-30.7 Nm, respectively. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report on infant bone strength in relation to age/mass using models developed from modern medical images. This technology may in future help advance the design of child, car restrain system, and more accurate computer models of children.

Concepts: Bone, Torque, Finite element method, Continuum mechanics, Elliptic boundary value problem, Mechanics, Torsion, Polar moment of inertia


Corpus callosum trauma has long been implicated in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), yet the mechanism by which forces penetrate this structure is unknown. We investigated the hypothesis that coronal and horizontal rotations produce motion of the falx cerebri that damages the corpus callosum. We analyzed previously published head kinematics of 115 sports impacts (2 diagnosed mTBI) measured with instrumented mouthguards and used finite element (FE) simulations to correlate falx displacement with corpus callosum deformation. Peak coronal accelerations were larger in impacts with mTBI (8592 rad/s2 avg.) than those without (1412 rad/s2 avg.). From FE simulations, coronal acceleration was strongly correlated with deep lateral motion of the falx center (r = 0.85), while horizontal acceleration was correlated with deep lateral motion of the falx periphery (r > 0.78). Larger lateral displacement at the falx center and periphery was correlated with higher tract-oriented strains in the corpus callosum body (r = 0.91) and genu/splenium (r > 0.72), respectively. The relationship between the corpus callosum and falx was unique: removing the falx from the FE model halved peak strains in the corpus callosum from 35% to 17%. Consistent with model results, we found indications of corpus callosum trauma in diffusion tensor imaging of the mTBI athletes. For a measured alteration of consciousness, depressed fractional anisotropy and increased mean diffusivity indicated possible damage to the mid-posterior corpus callosum. Our results suggest that the corpus callosum may be sensitive to coronal and horizontal rotations because they drive lateral motion of a relatively stiff membrane, the falx, in the direction of commissural fibers below.