Fiber SegmentBased Degradation Methods for a Finite ElementInformed Structural Brain Network

Report No. ARL-TR-6739
Authors: Justin McKee; Amy M. Dagro; Manuel M. Vindiola; Jean M. Vettel
Date/Pages: November 2013; 34 pages
Abstract: Through our research we aim to understand how a traumatic brain insult damages the brain's structural network that enables functional communication between brain regions. This report presents an expansion of our previous methods used to create a finite element–informed structural network model of the human brain by introducing a new method for network degradation. Tractography fibers from diffusion-weighted imaging contribute to the material properties of white matter. These fibers also constitute the undamaged structural network in the model. Unlike our previous work, only fiber segments within areas of high damage based on local tissue formations are removed. The resulting structural damage from two blast-loading conditions is successfully differentiated and quantified using standard graph property metrics from network science. Furthermore, we extend our previous work by examining whether these properties are scale-invariant by looking at a 12-node network as well as larger networks. Methods developed here allow for future work that will couple the degraded structural network with a separate neurophysical model to study how structural damage manifests in changes to the electrical oscillations of a functional brain network.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: November 1, 2013