Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Physics & Astronomy

First Advisor

Arjun G. Yodh


Information about cerebral blood flow (CBF) is valuable for clinical management of patients after severe brain injury. Unfortunately, current modalities for monitoring brain are often limited by hurdles that include high cost, low throughput, exposure to ionizing radiation, probe invasiveness, and increased risk to critically ill patients when transportation out of their room or unit is required. A further limitation of current technologies is an inability to provide continuous bedside measurements that are often desirable for unstable patients.

Here we explore the clinical utility of diffuse correlation spectroscopy (DCS) as an alternative approach for bedside CBF monitoring. DCS uses the rapid intensity fluctuations of near-infrared light to derive a continuous measure of changes in blood flow without ionizing radiation or invasive probing. Concurrently, we employ another optical technique, called diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS), to derive changes in cerebral oxyhemoglobin (HbO2) and deoxyhemoglobin (Hb) concentrations. Our clinical studies integrate DCS with DOS into a single hybrid instrument that simultaneously monitors CBF and HbO2/Hb in the injured adult brain.

The first parts of this dissertation present the motivations for monitoring blood flow in injured brain, as well as the theory underlying diffuse optics technology. The next section elaborates on details of the hybrid instrumentation. The final chapters describe four human subject studies carried out with these methods. Each of these studies investigates an aspect of the potential of the hybrid monitor in clinical applications involving adult brain. The studies include: (1) validation of DCS-measured CBF against xenon-enhanced computed tomography in brain-injured adults; (2) a study of the effects of age and gender on posture-change-induced CBF variation in healthy subjects; (3) a study of the efficacy of DCS/DOS for monitoring neurocritical care patients during various medical interventions such as head-of-bed manipulation and induced hyperoxia; and (4) a first feasibility study for using DCS to study hemodynamics at high altitudes.

The work presented in this dissertation thus further develops DCS/DOS technology and demonstrates its utility for monitoring the injured adult brain. It demonstrates the promise of this new clinical tool to help neurocritical care clinicians make more informed decisions and thereby improve patient outcome.

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