A Critical Review of Blast Induced Electromagnetic Fields in the Brain from Bone Piezoelectricity, Ka Yan Karen Lee et al Bioelectromagnetics

Spring 2011 Kendra Krueger This paper initially intrigued me as the title refers to the piezoelectric properties of bone. I was not aware that bone had such properties, and that it was capable of producing measurable electric fields in the brain. The goal of the research outlined in the paper was to simulate the fields that are induced by bones that have been stressed with pressure waves. It covers the motivation for this type of research, gives background for bone piezoelectricity and attempts to convey proof that this should be a measurable and possibly neurologically damaging effect. However, there are many assumptions made in their reasoning and calculations that merit further analysis. In the introduction of the paper, the authors set the stage with the idea that pressure waves can induce electric fields in the brain via bone piezoelectricity, and that these fields are potentially hazardous and may cause neurological damage according to known quantities that are similar in magnitude. They throw around a few numbers to persuade the reader that the interaction frequencies are on the same scale as hazardous fields, ie 1kHz, however they never back up with literature or data why the incident pressure waves would be at this frequency. They also refer to a device called a Blast Dosimeter which seems to be a theorized RF antenna that would be able to measure these piezo induced fields, but no further mention is given to it in the article. As the authors go into the calculation details the assumptions that are made become more apparent. The most noticeable approximation is that they only use one dielectric constant for all the tissue in the brain, and assume homogeneity. It has been discussed in class, the text and other articles that different types of tissue, specifically white matter and gray matter in the brain have different dielectric constants. Furthermore they focus on the piezoelectric properties of the bone, but use very generalized numbers from a study done on femur and tibia bones, which are significantly thicker than the cranium. Later on they do admit that there method of calculating the polarization tensor which results from the piezoelectric properties is grossly approximated and requires a more detailed analysis. This paper did discuss a very new and interesting topic that doesn t seem to have any predecessors. Since the concept is so new it s predictable that there would be some holes and large assumptions made in the calculations. However, the authors do state that they are at best interested in order of magnitude estimate and for those purposes they bring to light some valuable information.

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