Date of Submission

Spring 2019

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Computer Science; Mind, Brain & Behavior

Project Advisor 1

Kerri-Ann Norton

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Annually, approximately 375,000 people suffer from spinal cord injury (SCI) worldwide and many SCI patients develop secondary health conditions such as respiratory, cardiovascular, and urinary/bowel complications which negatively impact their daily lives. SCI occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord resulting in decreased motor functions, decreased sensory functions, or paralysis. Days to weeks after initial impact, the lesion (area of injury) continues to increase in size in a process called progressive cavitation which demyelinates axons and inhibits effective axonal regeneration. In an in vitro model of progressive cavitation, Fitch et al. showed that activated macrophages cause cavities to form (areas devoid of cells) in astrocyte monolayers (Fitch et al. 1999). In this senior project, I developed an agent based model that replicates the process of cavitation as described in the in vitro experiment. My results showed that, similar to Fitch et al’s results, cavity size and astrocyte density increase with increasing cell speed. Due to the time, effort, ethics, and cost involved with in vivo studies, this model provides an alternative approach to predicting optimal treatments leading to a more guided exploration of treatments that target and reduce progressive cavitation.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

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