The University’s Knowledge Transfer Account has awarded a Knowledge Transfer Fellowship to the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering to help with the development of diagnosis techniques for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Nathan Smith, from the department, will work at the Royal United Hospital in Bath under the co-supervision of Professor Cathryn Mitchell and Dr Manuch Soleimani. Dr Smith will be using his expertise in imaging to create a database of normal brain blood-flow, using an imaging technique known as SPECT (Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography).
The SPECT system works by measuring blood flow in the brain and in the past would rely on healthy volunteers to undergo the procedure in order to compare with those with suspected Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Smith aims to use pre-existing databases of brain images from other hospitals, along with his imaging expertise so as to avoid the need for the RUH to use healthy volunteers to undergo the scan, which requires the use of relatively high doses of radiation. This approach could then be applied to imaging systems in other hospitals.
Martyn Evans, Head of Nuclear Medicine at the RUH said: “The project is expected to significantly aid the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease at the Royal United Hospital and has potential to benefit other centres working in this area.”