Neurologists at the University of Queensland are developing a test that can identify the most common strokes in people with stroke-like symptoms.
A team of scientists has developed a diagnostic tool that can help identify patients at high risk of developing stroke-related complications.
The new diagnostic tool, called Vascular Neurofibrillary Tract (VNT), works by using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify the arteries and veins that flow into a person’s brain.
The tests can be used to diagnose stroke in the brain in people who are already at high or increased risk of stroke- related complications.
“We can detect a number of other problems, such as a buildup of plaque in the arteries, and also the blood flow to the brain,” Dr David Hynes, a senior researcher at the Queensland Centre for Stroke Research and lead author on the paper, told The Verge.
“What we’re doing with VNT is just making sure that we can identify and diagnose stroke-associated complications before they happen.”
The brain scans reveal which arteries and vein veins are linked to the stroke, and which arteries, veins and arteries connect with other arteries, the veins and the brain.
Dr Hynes and colleagues are now working to make the tool even more sensitive to different types of stroke.
“One of the major challenges is that there’s so much information that we don’t have on which arteries are the main arteries,” Dr Hinks said.
“But we’ve been able to do some of that information and make a very useful tool to see if there’s any risk of any of these other problems.”
For example, the tool can identify which arteries in a person may be causing blood clots in other arteries.
“This tool is really sensitive to a lot of different types and subtypes of strokes,” Dr John Rennie, a professor of neurology at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, said.
The team is also working on developing the tool for the prevention of stroke, such that it can be given to people who have other stroke-linked problems, as well as those who are at high-risk.
For example: “The team is developing a new diagnostic test that is able to detect stroke-induced vascular complications in people at high and/or increased risk,” Dr Rennies said.
A stroke that is associated with the development of a clot can lead to a range of problems including: “These tests can also be used in combination with blood pressure, heart rate, and pulse rate monitoring to help detect other complications, such to stroke, brain damage, and neurological damage.”
The test has already been tested in people and animals and is currently being used in the UK to identify stroke patients who are being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Brisbane.
The tool was developed with support from the National Institute for Health Research, the Queensland Government and the Queensland Brain Injury Research Group.
For more on stroke, check out our article.