A recent study by MSI PI Patrick Alford (associate professor, Biomedical Engineering; Institute for Engineering in Medicine) and colleagues shows that neurons in the brain do not need to be crushed or torn to result in brain injury. Just stretching them is enough to cause damage resulting in such diseases as Alzheimer’s disease and chronic traumatic encephalopathy. A story about this research can be found on the OVPR’s Inquiry blog: Stretching of Neurons Implicated in Traumatic Brain Injury.
This research provides more data that may help in the design of protective gear and in creating new therapies. The paper was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: NJ Braun, KR Yao, PW Alford, D Liao. 2020. Mechanical injuries of neurons induce tau mislocalization to dendritic spines and tau-dependent synaptic dysfunction. PNAS 117(46): 29069-29079. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2008306117.
Professor Alford uses software available through MSI to create datasets for the determination of mechanical properties of tissues used to study vascular contractility and remodeling.