US Department of Defense
Advancing Blast Injury Research to Protect and Heal Those Who Serve

Announcing The 4th International Forum on Blast Injury Countermeasures (IFBIC 2019)

May 8-10, 2019

In recent years, attacks using explosive devices occur frequently, not only on battlefields and in regions of conflict, but also in urban areas in peacetime due to terrorism, resulting in a large number of blast injury victims. The U.S. Department of Defense uses the Taxonomy of Injuries from Explosive Devices (as described in DoDD 6025.21E) to organize blast injuries into five groupings based on their approximate order of temporal incidence upon the body following an explosion. Primary injuries result from the blast shock wave. Secondary injuries result from penetrating fragments of material accelerated by the blast. Tertiary injuries result from accelerative loading or blunt impact to tissues. Quaternary injuries include dermal burns and toxic gas inhalation. Quinary injuries include contamination by nuclear, chemical, or biological agents. Primary injuries that are peculiar to blast shockwave exposures include mild blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI), hearing loss, ocular injury, and lung injury. All body systems are vulnerable to secondary injuries due to penetrating fragments and tertiary injuries due to acceleration and blunt force trauma.

International cross-disciplinary collaboration is regarded as essential to investigate physical causes of blast injury, to characterize the vulnerability of anatomical systems and their functions to blasts, and to develop the means to prevent, mitigate, and treat blast injuries. Countermeasures may include personal protective equipment; weapons and vehicle systems engineered for safety; tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for injury prevention; and medical interventions tailored to the specific needs of blast injuries.

This International Forum on Blast Injury Countermeasures started as a Technical Information Exchange Forum between Japan and the United States, which brought together broad knowledge and expertise, and to share national experiences and evidence-based approaches for blast injuries. The previous three Japan-U.S. Technical Information Exchange Forum on Blast Injury (JUFBI) were held in June 2016, April 2017, and May 2018 in Tokyo. At the end of JUFBI 2018, the planning committee decided to change the name to International Forum on Blast Injury Countermeasures to reflect the expanding participation by additional nations such as Australia, Canada, Germany, South Korea, and the United Kingdom.

These meetings have been very productive, involving active and fruitful discussions and exchange of creative ideas on a broad spectrum of blast injuries; identifying critical issues involving experimental and computational studies of blast-induced injuries; and creating new partnerships on joint research explorations to address the many scientific and technical challenges facing the field.

Building upon these successful meetings, the next International Forum on Blast Injury Countermeasures (IFBIC) 2019 will be held from Wednesday, May 8 – Friday, May 10, 2019 in McLean, VA, USA.

The objectives for the 4th Forum include:

  1. Assembly of an international forum focused on multi-disciplinary science and medicine necessary to increase our understanding of blast injury
  2. Achieving a mutual understanding of international efforts in blast injury research
  3. Identifying knowledge gaps requiring collaborative research
  4. Increasing understanding and promoting further collaboration to improve prevention, clinical diagnosis, and treatment of brain, lung, auditory, ocular, and other blast injuries

The meeting agenda includes the following broad topic areas. Innovative research beyond this topic list will also be considered:

  1. Blast injury epidemiology and environmental sensing of blast shockwave hazards
    1. Clinical prevalence of varieties of blast injuries sorted by context, anatomy, and severity
    2. Blast energy / physics / waveforms, reflections, effects of media (e.g., air vs. water vs. solid material)
    3. Blast sensor engineering, test and evaluation, fidelity, usability
    4. Correlation of blast sensing with clinical outcomes
    5. Use of multiple sensors to reconstruct blast phenomena
  2. Primary blast injury (due directly to shockwave effects)
    1. Experimentally derived injury risk criteria for anatomical structures and their functions, including brain, ocular, auditory, and lung
    2. Predicted incapacitation due to blast injuries (e.g., loss of neuromuscular control, reduced sensory or cognitive function, reduced respiration)
  3. Secondary (penetrating ballistic fragments) and tertiary (acceleration and blunt force) blast injury
    1. Experimentally derived injury risk criteria for anatomical structures and their functions
    2. Predicted incapacitation due to blast injuries (e.g., loss of musculoskeletal force)
  4. Long-term effects, cumulative effects, and chronic symptoms due to blast exposure
    1. Brain: aberrant protein expression and accumulation (e.g., phosphorylated Tau)
    2. Brain: chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)-like symptoms
    3. Brain: correlation and comorbidity with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    4. Effect of cumulative subclinical (i.e., not provoking diagnosis) exposures to blast phenomena for all body systems
    5. Effect of repeated clinical (i.e., provoking diagnosis) exposures to blast phenomena for all body systems
  5. Prevention, mitigation, treatment of blast injuries
    1. Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets, body armor, eye protection, hearing protection, etc.
    2. Weapon and vehicle systems engineered for safety in blast environments
    3. Tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) for Warfighter safety in blast environments
    4. Operational mission planning for needed medical response
    5. Lessons learned from military operations
    6. Resilience training (e.g., stress inoculation, mindfulness-based cognitive therapies to prevent sequelae of psychological trauma from blast exposures)
    7. Biomedically-based design and acquisition standards for military equipment (materiel)
    8. Biomedically-based health hazard assessments
    9. Clinical current practices, interventions, surgeries, rehabilitative therapies
  6. Diagnostic measures / biomarkers
    1. Innovations in self-reported symptom inventories
    2. Innovations in diagnostics based on observations by clinical staff
    3. Innovations in molecular markers of blast injury
    4. Innovations in biomedical imaging measures of blast injury
    5. Innovations in behavioral or functional tests for blast injury
  7. Computational modeling and simulation of blast phenomena and blast injury
    1. Deformable finite element modeling (FEM) of stresses and strains
    2. Injury risk criteria applied to force-time histories from FEM
    3. Incapacitation risk criteria applied to injury predictions from FEM
    4. Shockwave modeling
    5. Innovations in coupling between computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and FEM
    6. Integration of computational models with blast sensors and other sensors (e.g., strain gauges or force transducers on cadavers or simulant manikins)
  8. New technology and methods for blast injury research and medicine
Contributions from all countries, as well as from young investigators, are welcome.

Abstract submission and registration information

Last modified: 27-Sep-2019