Blast shock waves can generate electric fields in skulls
Last Updated: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 00:00
  

Washington: Shock waves produced due to a bomb blast may electrify the brain and damage it, according to a new study.

"It``s always exciting to look at a phenomenon that may have been missed in the past," Live Science quoted Steven Johnson, a theoretical physicist at MIT, as saying.



He added: "Moreover, this is potentially an issue that can directly affect the lives of our soldiers, which gives it a special interest for all of us who are involved."



Several materials produce electricity when they are mechanically stressed. Known as piezoelectricity, this effect is commonly witnessed in guitar pickups and loudspeakers.



Johnson and his team designed a new computer model of the electric fields created in the skull by an improvised explosive device (IED).

The results suggest the generated electric fields could exceed electrical safety guidelines by a factor of 10.



While there are numerous uncertainties at present these electric pulses could help find a new class of medical diagnostic tools for blast-induced head injuries like customized helmets.



Johnson said: "We are looking into whether antennas inside the helmet could pick up the electric field generated when the blast impacts the skull, which would provide a direct measure of the head``s exposure to a blast wave.

"Eventually, the reading could be used for diagnosis," he added. "If the reading is above a certain threshold determined by injury research, the soldier could be directed to further screening and treatment - MRI scans and so on."



ANI


First Published: Saturday, April 24, 2010, 00:00



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