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Edited by Alan M Nahum and John W Melvin. (Pp 577; $165.00.) Springer-Verlag, 2001. ISBN 0-387-98820-3.
Accidental Injury: Biomechanics and Prevention attempts to address the communication gap between engineering researchers studying the applied biomechanics of injury and medical personnel who diagnose and treat traumatic injury. This reference book is a compendium of chapters that review the state-of-the-art in applied biomechanics research and has been revised, updated, and expanded from its first edition in 1993. There is a chapter each on particular body regions as well as chapters on related topics such as “Anthropomorphic test devices” (chapter 4), “Instrumentation in experimental design” (chapter 2), and “Occupant restraint systems” (chapter 8). New chapters include “Injury risk assessments based on dummy responses” (chapter 5), “Airbag inflation-induced injury biomechanics” (chapter 9), and “Pediatric biomechanics” (chapter 21).
The two editors, Alan Nahum, MD and John Melvin, PhD are recognized leaders in trauma medicine and injury biomechanics. In this volume they have brought together many of the seminal researchers in the fields of biomechanics and human traumatic injury research. The author of each chapter is an internationally recognized expert in the field who builds on his/her direct experience with these topics to provide an exhaustive review.
The target audience for this book includes physicians, attorneys, biomedical researchers, and mechanical, biomedical, and automotive engineers. Injury prevention professionals with limited engineering background may find the technical and theoretical treatment of the injury mechanisms contained in many of the chapters too detailed and complex and may find the language not accessible. Most of the chapters have little in the way of a synopsis or practical injury prevention applications of the research findings.
A few chapters deserve special mention for their relevance to this audience. “Occupant restraints systems” by Rolf Eppinger (chapter 8) provides a very readable discussion of the principles of physics that govern the performance of seatbelts and airbags and identifies many upcoming technological developments highlighting their advantages and disadvantages. “Child passenger protection” by Kathleen Weber (chapter 21) quickly reviews some of the concepts discussed in more detail in chapter 8 and thoroughly describes how these principles apply to children. There is a valuable collection of line drawings clearly illustrating the different types of child restraint systems.
The value of this book for the above stated audiences is that it can provide direction in understanding decades of biomechanics research by identifying key references for each topic. It is for this reason that Accidental Injury should be considered a crucial reference book for anyone involved in biomechanical research of traumatic injury. Many of these references are in engineering conference proceedings that would not appear in any traditional Medline literature search. Although not stated in the book, many of the references can be obtained through the Society of Auto motive Engineers publications library at www.sae.org. For physicians who have relied on medical journals to remain current on this type of research, this book will open the gateway to an extremely rich and robust parallel body of literature of which they may have previously been unaware. Due to the technical nature of many of the topics, the book may encourage joint study of a topic by both medical personnel and engineering researchers thereby enhancing their research efforts.