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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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As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

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