Artificial Intelligence Technique Reveals Fluid Flow in the Brain with Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease
A groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) technique for measuring fluid flow in the brain’s blood vessels has the potential to revolutionize treatments for neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. The flow of fluid around cerebral blood vessels plays a crucial role in sweeping away waste and maintaining brain health. However, accurately measuring this flow in vivo has been a significant challenge.
A Novel AI Velocimetry Approach
University of Rochester Associate Professor Douglas Kelley, along with a multidisciplinary team of mechanical engineers, neuroscientists, and computer scientists, has developed an innovative AI velocimetry measurement method. Their groundbreaking approach, outlined in a study published by the esteemed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, offers accurate calculations of brain fluid flow that were previously unattainable.
“Combining measurements from animal models with our novel AI technique, we were able to measure things never before achievable,” explains Kelley, faculty member in Rochester’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.
Advancing Understanding of a Complex System
This research builds upon prior experiments led by Maiken Nedergaard, coauthor of the study and codirector of Rochester’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine. Previous two-dimensional studies had injected tiny particles into the fluid surrounding blood vessels to track their position and velocity over time. However, a more comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of the system required more complex measurements.
To overcome this challenge, the team collaborated with George Karniadakis from Brown University, leveraging AI and physics-informed neural networks. This integration allowed for unprecedented high-resolution analysis of the fluid flow system.
“Our approach provides a way to accurately reveal pressures, forces, and three-dimensional flow rates that were previously unattainable. This is particularly crucial as the pumping mechanism driving these flows in the brain is still not fully understood,” highlights Kelley. “This truly marks the beginning of a new field of study.”
Support and Future Implications
The research received support from various programs, including the Collaborative Research in Computational Neuroscience program, the National Institutes of Health Brain Initiative, and the Army Research Office’s Multidisciplinary University Research Initiatives program.
By unlocking a better understanding of fluid flow in the brain, this AI technique holds promise for developing innovative treatments for neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, small vessel disease, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries.