JUN 27, 2020 5:36 AM PDT

Automating the Analysis of the Circle of Willis to Determine Vascular Health

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

The Circle of Willis (CoW) is a vital part of the brain’s anatomy that acts as a junction of blood flow. It is composed of arterial segments that connect three blood flow pathways and provides an important source of what’s called collateral blood flow that allows the continued blood passage if a vessel is pinched.

The CoW has been the target of researchers, due to its association with diagnosing strokes and importance in determining vascular health. Over fifty percent of people have one or more missing segments of the CoW, which is associated with a high risk of stroke. A complete CoW, on the other hand, is a sign that a patient can undergo more aggressive treatment after a stroke has already occurred.

Therefore, analyzing the CoW is essential in diagnosing strokes, as well as key in identifying vascular strength in individuals. Radiological images are already the standard and are a very effective method of analysis. However, the need for doctors themselves to examine them can be quite costly. A group from the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas proposed that automizing the interpretation of radiological images could reduce the price and time of CoW analysis.

They chose to develop an algorithm that would identify the CoW on a radiological image, give it a sort of base skeleton, and then identify what segments might be missing from that skeleton. This method correctly labeled almost all CoW images it was given, albeit in a small data set.

Though their model worked well, the team concede that there are other, more sophisticated methods in the works. They proposed that combining their method with one of these methods may improve the merged method overall. Unfortunately, this study was only intended to test the model’s feasibility, and the small pool of patients they pulled from could not give any definitive results.  It did affirm that it has promise as a diagnostic tool, however.

The team concludes, “We demonstrate the feasibility of using our approach to automatically classify important structures of the CoW and extract biomarkers from cerebrovasculature. With further development, we believe this approach may be used to automatically analyze clinically acquired images to generate biomarker data for research purposes or for clinical applications.”

Sources: Nature Scientific Reports, AnatomyZone
 

About the Author
  • Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
JUL 14, 2020
Cardiology
Changing Your Doctor Can Cause Confusion in Your Chart
JUL 14, 2020
Changing Your Doctor Can Cause Confusion in Your Chart
Nowadays, many people’s lifestyle sees them move on to better pastures every few years. Staying in one place is no ...
AUG 01, 2020
Cardiology
Identifying Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
AUG 01, 2020
Identifying Biomarkers for the Diagnosis of Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
Type 2 diabetes affects millions around the world.  By itself, it prevents your body from properly using sugars fro ...
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Cannabis Might Trigger Heart Problems Says AHA
AUG 05, 2020
Cannabis Might Trigger Heart Problems Says AHA
The American Heart Association (AHA) has produced a new statement about medical marijuana and recreational cannabis. The ...
SEP 29, 2020
Cardiology
Improving Acute Myocardial Ischemia Treatment with Nitro Fatty Acids
SEP 29, 2020
Improving Acute Myocardial Ischemia Treatment with Nitro Fatty Acids
Acute myocardial ischemia occurs when blood flow is restricted in the heart. This usually leads to cardiovascular issues ...
NOV 03, 2020
Cardiology
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
NOV 03, 2020
The Right Diet Can Help Heart Health & Lower Inflammation
Most people know that certain foods are better for our health than others. Some types of food can increase, while other ...
NOV 19, 2020
Cardiology
Examining a Possible Link Between Atherosclerosis and Inflammation
NOV 19, 2020
Examining a Possible Link Between Atherosclerosis and Inflammation
The immune system’s primary duty is to protect the body from dangerous invaders. Many don’t know that it als ...
Loading Comments...