Skull survey could improve vehicle safety

Jan 22, 2008

Women's skulls are thicker than men's, but they both shrink slowly after we reach adulthood. That's the conclusion of a new imaging study of 3000 people published in the Inderscience International Journal of Vehicle Safety. The detailed results could help in the design of more effective devices for protecting the head in vehicle collisions and other accidents.

Jesse Ruan of the Ford Motor Company and colleagues at Tianjin University of Science and Technology have devised a non-invasive method for determining and analyzing the critical geometric characteristics of a person's skull. Their approach is based on head scan images of 3000 patients at the Tianjin Fourth central Hospital.

The researchers found that the average thicknesses of the skull in men was 6.5 millimeters, but 7.1 mm in women. The average front to back measurement for men was 176 mm in men, but was less in women at 171 mm. Average width was 145 mm in men and 140 mm in women, the team found.

"Skull thickness differences between genders are confirmed in our study," Ruan says, "The next step will be to find out how these differences translate into head impact response of male and female, and then we can design the countermeasure for head protection."

Skull thickness, as one might expect, improves the outcome for anyone suffering a head injury, but studies have also demonstrated that skull shape can also have an effect. However, the detailed relationship between skull thickness and shape and how well a person tolerates a head injury have not been settled with most studies simply extrapolating from smaller to larger skull and thickness to predict the likely effects of an impact.

The current research, which involved a detailed statistical analysis of the various measurements for all 3000 people scanned. The analysis shows that the distribution of skull size, shape and thickness do not follow a so-called "normal" distribution pattern and so such extrapolations may be invalid.

"Reliable biomechanical geometric data of the human skull can help us to better understand the problem of head injury during an impact," the researchers say, "and help in the design of better head protective devices.

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Explore further: Can science eliminate extreme poverty?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Scientists reveal new species of dog-sized dinosaur

May 07, 2013

Scientists have named a new species of bone-headed dinosaur (pachycephalosaur) from Alberta, Canada. Acrotholus audeti (Ack-RHO-tho-LUS) was identified from both recently discovered and historically collec ...

Burmese pythons prove elusive prey in Florida challenge

Feb 27, 2013

Strapped to Billy Bullard's hip was a machete he'd bought at a yard sale. In his fist were 4-foot-long metal snake tongs. Attached to the tongs was a high-resolution waterproof camera he called a "snake-cam."

Recommended for you

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

10 hours ago

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.