Engineers and Doctors Team Up to Battle Brain Disease
Polish Engineers have teamed up with German doctors to try and develop a new method for combatting dystonia, a disease that causes the muscles to fail because they receive wrong signals from the brain.
The teams from Wroclaw’s University of Science and Technology and the Leibniz Institute of Neurobiology in Magdeburg are developing processes that will make it possible to perform calculations on a regular computer, as most hospitals do not have sophisticated enough computing infrastructure.
By locating current sources in the patient`s brain, Dr. Cezary Sielużycki from the Wrocław University of Science and Technology hopes it will be easier to understand which neurons fail to communicate with each other properly.
He said: "The brain activity measurement of the examined person does not immediately give doctors useful information. A lot of calculations have to be performed to make a diagnosis. Some of them do not have a clear mathematical solution. Advanced algorithms must be used.”
Together with his colleague Prof. D. Robert Iskander, the team hopes to shorten a patient`s time under an MEG scanner since statistical methods reduce the amount of data that need to be taken into account during diagnosis.
Dr. Sielużycki previously worked on dystonia at the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute at Sorbonne in Paris where he used magnetoencephalography to better understand the neurological mechanisms behind dystonia.
This method measures the magnetic field of the brain and is more advanced than similar electroencephalography which measures the electric field of the brain. Magnetoencephalographic equipment is very expensive and currently unavailable in Poland.
He said: “We would like magnetoencephalography to become available in Poland, because our patients also suffer from various diseases requiring advanced neurological diagnostics. It is often not known what is happening in their brains, and useful information cannot always be obtained by traditional methods. Therefore, modern diagnostics requires doctors to cooperate with engineers, mathematicians and physicists. Unfortunately, modern methods can be computationally expensive, which is why we put great emphasis on reducing this cost.”
The research at the Wrocław University of Science and Technology received support under the Polonez grant of the National Science Centre.
PAP - Science in Poland, Karolina Duszczyk
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