Friday, April 10, 2009

Mapping the Heart: Cross-functional Research Leads to Breakthrough


Imagine if imaging of the earth's inner core could lead through to a breakthrough in cardiology... and you will get an idea of what is happening at Bournemouth University.

A computer modeling program was created by Professor Nick Petford to study how liquid metal flows through cracks during planet formation. “For a long time people thought the flow of liquid iron along the edge of grains and through narrow channels and cracks was not possible. NERC funding allowed me to develop a technique for importing object images of rock slices into a software package and then run a fluid-flow computer simulation to look at how liquid metal inside a meteorite moves around under pressure.” Then he realized that the software could be used to do so much more...

Working with a heart radiographer at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, he used the same simulation technology to look at the blood flow in a diseased human heart. They used data from an actual MRI scan, adjusted the viscosity and density of the fluid to reflect that of human blood, then solved the equations to discover where a blockage existed.

The MRI had not shown an obvious blockage, but utilizing the software, they predicted, exactly, where a clot was located. Just imagine the implications for future studies in this area and earlier diagnoses for patients!

A detailed article regarding this research can be found at:

1 comment:

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