HomeTrending NewsHow monitoring blood vessel changes improves detection of brain disease

How monitoring blood vessel changes improves detection of brain disease

Researchers from Brown University have revealed how it is possible to follow the development of cerebral blood vessels over a longer period of time. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications. Alzheimer’s disease is an example of an age-related brain disease that often lasts a lifetime

velop, but is often not identified until after symptoms have begun. As a result, teams of biomedical researchers led by Brown University academics have been investigating whether severe neurodegenerative diseases could be identified decades earlier—perhaps with something as straightforward as a routine eye exam rather than a battery of diagnostic procedures.

The findings begin to provide biomedical researchers with a tool to find and examine biomarkers in these blood vessels that may contain critical information for the early detection of progressive neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and multiple sclerosis.

In order to find these biomarkers in mouse retinas, we hope to use their method to image human retinas in the future. This will allow them to study and observe how the blood vessels change. The project is one of many studies being conducted by Brown University researchers to detect early Alzheimer’s disease by looking into the eyes.

“In this paper, we show that with our imaging technology, we can image the same animal’s brain over and over repeatedly for nearly a year by measuring the properties of the brain’s blood vessels,” said study lead author Jonghwan Lee. assistant professor at Brown’s School of Engineering and the Carney Institute for Brain Science. “The results potentially pave the way for predicting when someone is at risk of developing these neurodegenerative diseases and for doctors to prescribe early treatment.”

Tracking how brain vessels change over longer periods of time in people who develop age-related neurodegenerative diseases, compared to what regular change looks like, has long been a goal of scientists. Brain vessels in people who develop brain disease are thought to show signs of degradation and decline decades before symptoms of the disease begin.

“If we can detect a change in blood vessels in the brain or retina over a long period of time, it has long been thought possible to predict the onset of these kinds of diseases,” Lee said.

Challenges in current microscopic methods have made this type of longitudinal tracking extremely challenging, but require different solutions. The research team — which also included scientists from Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School and School of Public Health — decided to find a more direct approach.

The new method they created combines advanced imaging techniques and AI algorithms to track changes in the dynamics and anatomy of the brain’s blood vessels. The researchers used the method to measure these changes in 25 mice over seven months.

According to the study, the research team focused on a non-invasive imaging test called optical coherence tomography. OCT uses light waves to look through the retina and image the blood vessels that surround the optic nerve. The team adapted several OCT techniques to image cerebral blood vessels such as pial vessels, cortical vessels and capillary networks. They then integrated OCT methods with image processing algorithms to look for patterns in the data they collected from normal and Alzheimer’s model mice.

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