Kinematics clustering enables head impact subtyping for better traumatic brain injury prediction

by   Xianghao Zhan, et al.

Traumatic brain injury can be caused by various types of head impacts. However, due to different kinematic characteristics, many brain injury risk estimation models are not generalizable across the variety of impacts that humans may sustain. The current definitions of head impact subtypes are based on impact sources (e.g., football, traffic accident), which may not reflect the intrinsic kinematic similarities of impacts across the impact sources. To investigate the potential new definitions of impact subtypes based on kinematics, 3,161 head impacts from various sources including simulation, college football, mixed martial arts, and car racing were collected. We applied the K-means clustering to cluster the impacts on 16 standardized temporal features from head rotation kinematics. Then, we developed subtype-specific ridge regression models for cumulative strain damage (using the threshold of 15 baseline method which mixed impacts from different sources and developed one model (R^2 from 0.7 to 0.9). To investigate the effect of kinematic features, we presented the top three critical features (maximum resultant angular acceleration, maximum angular acceleration along the z-axis, maximum linear acceleration along the y-axis) based on regression accuracy and used logistic regression to find the critical points for each feature that partitioned the subtypes. This study enables researchers to define head impact subtypes in a data-driven manner, which leads to more generalizable brain injury risk estimation.


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