Helmets Cannot Prevent Brain Injuries

Helmets are a big part of protection of the brain, and through the years, they have developed so that they prevent major injuries, [Julian Bailes, MD - Northshore Neurological Institute] like injuries to the scalp, skull fractures, major blood clots in the brain. But for a concussion, they are, in my opinion, not the total answer. It's important that helmet technology continues to improve. The problem is that the brain is still free to move inside the skull. The human brain is floating in a bath of fluid called cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, and it's free to undergo motion. As the head, even the helmeted head, suddenly stops, the brain will continue, and then it will hit the inside of the skull and reverberate back and maybe a second time. And then also it can't prevent rotatory injuries, and rotation is where I think the majority of the time these fibers can get torn in concussion.

Even with a helmet on, a person's brain is still free to move about in the skull's cerebral spinal fluid, which can cause concussion.

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Julian Bailes

Julian Bailes, MD is a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery and the impact of brain injury on cognitive function.

Posted on BrainLine April 13, 2012.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Brian King, and Michael Yoswa, BrainLine.