Biotechnology

Studies find distinct patterns of preexisting brain health characteristics

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University of Cincinnati researchers presented an abstract at the 2023 European Stroke Organization Conference (ESOC), May 24-26 in Munich, Germany, including the results of the first large-scale assessment of radiological brain health in stroke patients in a population.

Credits: Photo/Ravenna Rutledge/UC Marketing + Brand.

University of Cincinnati researchers presented an abstract at the 2023 European Stroke Organization Conference (ESOC), May 24-26 in Munich, Germany, including the results of the first large-scale assessment of radiological brain health in stroke patients in a population.

Extensive research has helped pinpoint risk factors for early stroke, but understanding of them is limited what the brains of stroke patients look like on a population level, according to Achala Vagal, MD, a UC professor of neuroradiology.

“Imaging can be an objective manifestation of the presence and severity of clinical factors such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and kidney failure,” he said. “However, most large epidemiological studies of brain health have been conducted in stroke-free subjects.”

Vagal is the co-principal investigator in the Assessing Population-based Radiological brain health in Stroke Epidemiology (APRISE) study that obtained new information from the neuroimaging results of stroke patients.

The research team analyzed all available clinical imaging data from nearly 3,500 patients who had strokes in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area in 2015, assessing imaging for signs of small vessel disease in the brain in the form of previous injuries, microbleeds, white matter disease (damaging tissue) or brain atrophy, among other observations.

Vagal said the team identified three distinct clusters of observable imaging characteristics that were each associated with a specific set of clinical variables.

“This can help us understand the biology of preexisting brain health in stroke patients and help guide future interventions,” he said. “We expected all imaging parameters of brain health due to small vessel disease to be clustered closely, but we found microbleeds lacked clustering with white matter disease.”

With the knowledge gained from the research, Vagal said his team is now using the brain health imaging data to build a predictive model for recurrent stroke.

“Large-scale characterization of preexisting brain health is helpful for identifying new observable characteristics that can guide further studies,” he said.

Vagal presented an oral abstract”Brain Health Radiological Phenotypes in the Stroke Population: Main Results of a Population-Based Radiological Brain Health Assessment in the Stroke Epidemiology Study (APRISE)” during the Imaging scientific communication session, Thursday (25/5).

Other co-authors of the abstract include UC’s Heidi Sucharew, Vivek Khandwala, Lily Wang, Rebecca Cornelius, Mary Gaskill-Shipley, Thomas Tomsick, Shantala Gangatirkar, Brady Williamson, Thomas Maloney, Mary Haverbusch, Janice Carrozzella, Kathy Alwell, David Robinson, Robert Stanton and principal investigators Pooja Khatri, MD, and Brett Kissela, MD; Paul Horn of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center; David Wang of the I-MED Radiology Network in Melbourne, Australia; and Dawn O. Kleindorfer of the University of Michigan.

Other presentations from UC researchers include:

  • Felipe Ayala, “Collateral Grade as Mediator of Influence of Objective Post-Endovascular Blood Pressure on Outcome: Pre-specific Exploratory Analysis of the BEST-2 Randomized Trial,” at the Late Breaking Moderated poster session Thursday, May 25.
  • Joseph Broderick, “RFVIIA for Acute Hemorrhagic Stroke Administered at the Fastest Time (PESTESTEST) Trial,” in the Ongoing Trials poster session Thursday, May 25.
  • Destiny Hooper, “Diffusion-Weighted Image Positivity Predicts Risk of Stroke or Death Three Years After Transient Ischemic Attack in a Biracial Population,” Wednesday, May 24.
  • Hoopers,Increased Leukocyte Counts Are Associated With Worse Functional Outcomes In Patients With Large Vessel Occlusion,” in the May 25 Stroke Prognosis and Outcome poster session.
  • Pooja Khatri,Ischemic Stroke with Minor Disabling Deficits,” in the Improving Outcomes of Acute Reperfusion Therapies for Acute Ischemic Stroke session on May 26.

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