Nav: Home

Innovative technique to examine blood vessels in 3-D help unlock secrets of the brain

January 04, 2017

  • Blood vessels examined in 3D allow scientists to examine circulation in the brain giving greater understanding of how dementia, brain cancer and stroke may affect veins and capillaries in this important organ.

  • Technique could identify early warning signs of diseases helping to save lives.

  • Scientists previously unable to study minute blood vessels which could unlock secrets of circulation and how diseases form in brain.

A study published today in the Journal of Anatomy has made an important breakthrough in the examination of blood vessels in the brain giving scientists a clearer understanding of how dementia, brain cancer and stroke can affect veins and capillaries in this organ.

Working collaboratively researchers from the University of Surrey and the Federal University of Sao Paulo developed an innovative technique to examine and quantify blood vessels in the brain using 3D Image Analysis (Stereology) procedures.

Using experimental animal models, this technique will allow scientists to study how such diseases develop in the brain and help them identify, through examination of blood vessels, potential warning signs of illnesses before symptoms appear. These learnings can potentially be translated into humans and help reduce the number of deaths from these illnesses. The procedure can also be used in post mortems and biopsies examinations of animal and human tissue making it easier for pathologists to determine causes of death and quickly identify alterations in the brain circulation (such as clots) or tumors.

The inexpensive technique of dissolving China Ink with gelatin creates a solution making blood vessels more visible with the use of a confocal microscope. This enables scientists and pathologists to make an accurate reading of their number, length, surface area and create 3D images which can help identify changes in their shape and size, key indicators of a number of circulation-related diseases of the brain.

This innovative method will also facilitate a greater understanding of how exercise affects the brain. Scientists will now be able to examine circulatory effects of increased or decreased heart rate, arterial pressure on the brain and the creation of new vessels (angiogenesis).

Co-author of the study Dr Augusto Coppi from the University of Surrey said: "The brain is a fascinating organ but our full understanding of its circulation is lacking. Previously we have been unable to fully sample and perform a quantification of the circulation of the brain in 3D as we simply could not see all vessels due to their minute size and sometimes due to their irregular spatial distribution.

"This new technique will allow us to sample, image and count blood vessels in 3D giving us a greater mechanistic comprehension of how the circulation of the brain works and how brain diseases such as dementia and stroke affect this organ. With an estimated 850,000 people diagnosed with dementia in England, this technique marks a significant breakthrough in the fight against this disease."
-end-


University of Surrey

Related Dementia Articles:

Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia
A research team from the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece, have studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Dementia: The right to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.
One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia
At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.
Rural dementia -- we need to talk
Research carried out by Plymouth University into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern which need to be addressed if dementia in the countryside is to be managed.
More Dementia News and Dementia Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.