Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) is the most common and costly traffic injury. It can result in long lasting and debilitating pain in the neck region, but there is a serious lack of established and effective diagnosis and treatment. Recent developments in pain research show that inflammation in the cells of the spinal dorsal nerve root ganglia cause long term central pain sensitization. Interestingly, recent computational biomechanical research at Chalmers shows how the dorsal root ganglia are deformed during the load case of a car collision. Pressure transients are generated in the central nervous system and cause the deformation. These recent findings open up for a new paradigm in whiplash injury research. Our teams at Chalmers and Gothenburg University have joined forces to develop a methodology to include the most recent technology in order to study nerve cell physiology in-vitro.
The aim with this proposed study is to develop a pilot test set-up to reproduce, in vitro, the local nerve injury mechanism that occurs during whiplash trauma in vivo. Our goal is to generate results that show the feasibility of the in-vitro approach in this research field, and thus form a basis for future research projects and applications for funding.