A new algorithm has been developed by OU physicists which will make it possible to model the supply of blood to the brain.
In a paper, due to be published in Physics in Medicine and Biology on Thursday 20 June, Drs Jim Hague and Jonathan Keelan, from the OU’s Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, describe how, in collaboration with the University of Leicester, they used a physics-based method to develop a new model for understanding the blood supply to the brain. The method searches for the arrangement of blood vessels for which the energy needed to pump blood is lowest, a bit like running evolution very fast in a computer.
“Anyone who wants to make detailed calculations involving the arteries of the brain can use the model, which has been created using a computational design technique,” said Dr Hague. “It has a stunning level of detail compared with existing computer designed models and the design technique takes account of all the arteries of the brain simultaneously leading to realistic arrangements of blood vessels. Similar computational design methods can be used to model supply to other organs.”
A mid-term application of the new model is predicting patients’ risk of developing a stroke after cardiac surgery and in the longer term, Dr Hague sees the algorithm as a means to design blood vessels for artificial tissue, to enable larger tissues such as organs to be grown for transplant and to replace animal testing.