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Study combines MRI brain scans with statistics to better predict cognitive problems after stroke

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New ‘brain health index’ can pre­dict how well patients will do after stroke (Sci­enceDai­ly):

A new com­put­er pro­gramme devel­oped by sci­en­tists at the Uni­ver­si­ties of Edin­burgh and Glas­gow can assess whole brain dete­ri­o­ra­tion and help pre­dict cog­ni­tive func­tion after stroke up to ten times more accu­rate­ly than cur­rent meth­ods.

The new approach, pub­lished today in the Inter­na­tion­al Jour­nal of Stroke, can quan­ti­fy vis­i­ble brain injury from cere­bral small ves­sel dis­ease (SVD) and brain atro­phy by trans­lat­ing the mil­lion plus bits of infor­ma­tion stored in brain scans into a sin­gle mea­sure, the “brain health index.”…

Dr David Alexan­der Dick­ie, from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Glasgow’s Insti­tute of Car­dio­vas­cu­lar and Med­ical Sci­ences, said: “We recog­nised a need for a more inclu­sive approach to assess­ing com­mon brain dis­or­ders of age­ing. Our new method allows us to use every piece of infor­ma­tion from a brain scan, rather than just indi­vid­ual fea­tures of the brain that can only tell us so much about a person’s risk for cog­ni­tive problems…Eventually we hope to intro­duce brain health index into clin­i­cal prac­tice so that it may improve ear­ly iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and treat­ment of cog­ni­tive decline and demen­tia after stroke.”

The Study:

The brain health index: Towards a com­bined mea­sure of neu­rovas­cu­lar and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive struc­tur­al brain injury (Inter­na­tion­al Jour­nal of Stroke). From the abstract:

  • Back­ground: A struc­tur­al mag­net­ic res­o­nance imag­ing mea­sure of com­bined neu­rovas­cu­lar and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive bur­den may be use­ful as these fea­tures often coex­ist in old­er peo­ple, stroke and demen­tia.
  • Aim: We aimed to devel­op a new auto­mat­ed approach for quan­ti­fy­ing vis­i­ble brain injury from small ves­sel dis­ease and brain atro­phy in a sin­gle mea­sure, the brain health index.
  • Mate­ri­als and meth­ods: We com­put­ed brain health index in N?=?288 participants…We test­ed brain health index against a val­i­dat­ed total small ves­sel dis­ease visu­al score and white mat­ter hyper­in­ten­si­ty vol­umes in two patient groups and against mea­sures of brain atro­phy in healthy par­tic­i­pants using mul­ti­ple regres­sion. We eval­u­at­ed asso­ci­a­tions with Addenbrooke’s Cog­ni­tive Exam Revised in patients and with reac­tion time in healthy par­tic­i­pants.
  • Results: The brain health index was sig­nif­i­cant­ly and more strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with Addenbrooke’s Cog­ni­tive Exam Revised, includ­ing at one year fol­low-up, than white mat­ter hyper­in­ten­si­ty vol­ume and small ves­sel dis­ease score alone in both patient groups. Fur­ther, the brain health index was more strong­ly asso­ci­at­ed with reac­tion time than mea­sures of brain atro­phy alone in healthy par­tic­i­pants.
  • Con­clu­sions: The brain health index is a new image analy­sis approach that may use­ful­ly cap­ture com­bined vis­i­ble brain dam­age in large-scale stud­ies of age­ing, neu­rovas­cu­lar and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­ease.

The Study in Context:

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