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A spinal cord injury may lead to loss of motor and sensory function and even death. The biomechanics of the injury process have been found to be important to the neurological damage pattern, and some studies have found a protective effect of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, the effect of the CSF thickness on the cord deformation and, hence, the resulting injury has not been previously investigated. In this study, the effects of natural variability (in bovine) as well as the difference between bovine and human spinal canal dimensions on spinal cord deformation were studied using a previously validated computational model. Owing to the pronounced effect that the CSF thickness was found to have on the biomechanics of the cord deformation, it can be concluded that results from animal models may be affected by the disparities in the CSF layer thickness as well as by any difference in the biological responses they may have compared with those of humans.
Cecilia Persson (Corresponding Author), Jon Summers, and Richard M. Hall are with the School of Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K.