The Virtual Brain: A Computational Microscope to Elucidate Brain Mechanisms from Health to Dementia
Ana Solodkin, PhD
Currently, we do not have effective therapies to cure or prevent dementia due in part to our lack of understanding on basic disease mechanisms. This is not rooted on lack of data. Rather, a challenge in studying neurodegeneration in general and Alzheimer’s disease in particular, is that the great amount of data from different sources measuring brain structure and function, do so independently.
In contrast, we use computational modeling to bring these data together and build models for individual patients to better understand how brain structure and function change in neurodegeneration. Like a “computational microscope”, the models also can estimate details that we cannot easily measure in human brain, such as the operations of individual groups of cells. This feature of the models can be important in helping to understand the link between the degeneration at different levels of the brain and how it relates to a particular patient’s cognitive function.
The idea is that once the models are created, they can be used to develop a brain health assessment platform for aging adults. A validated model can then become an important clinical tool to help to improve health care and outcomes for individuals with neurodegeneration.
Dr. Solodkin is professor at UT Dallas with research interest in biomarkers of neurological disease via neuroinformatics.
This course is offered for 0.1 ASHA CEUs (Advanced level, Related area)
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