Toward a Unified Multiscale Computational Model of the Human Body's Immediate Responses to Blast-Related Trauma

A Review of the Scientific Literature

by Eder Sousa, Samantha McBirney, Emily Hoch, Tepring Piquado

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Research Questions

  1. What does computational modeling tell us about the human body's responses to blast injury?
  2. What further opportunities exist to strengthen current research in multiscale computational modeling of the interaction between a blast wave and the human body?

This report describes what computational modeling reveals about the human body's immediate responses to blast trauma. Specifically, this literature review aims to (1) provide the state of the science of multiscale computational modeling of the human body's responses to blast-related trauma, including both descriptions of models used or developed and research findings, and (2) identify future opportunities to strengthen the current research on understanding the human body's responses to blast-related trauma particularly across multiple scales.

This review is meant to serve as a roadmap to inform additional computational and experimental research investigating the human body's responses to blast-related trauma. The most-valuable investigations will require an understanding of the interactions among cells, organs, and systems and how these interactions change in response to blast exposure over time.

Continued computational modeling of the human body's responses to blast exposure could better support service members, leading to improved personal protective equipment to reduce injury severity and improved care for those injured.

Key Finding

  • Additional research is needed to develop a multiscale model of the human body, as well as the model's interaction with a blast wave.


  • Future research should simulate a wider variety of body parts' exposure to blasts and compare model results with military blast-related data.
  • Future research should establish clinical injury thresholds to indicate a clinically detectable injury.

This research was sponsored by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and the U.S. Department of Defense Blast Injury Research Coordinating Office and conducted within the Forces and Resources Policy Center of the RAND National Security Research Division (NSRD).

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