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A new brain imaging hub has been launched by Dementias Platform UK’s Data Portal giving researchers unique access to scans, together with phenotypic and genomic data enabling more complex research analysis into dementia.

An image of a brain scan from above © Canva
There are scanned images from over 6,000 people

Developed by the Dementias Platform (DPUK) Data Portal team based in the Department of Population Data Science at Swansea University, it brings together raw imaging data from 20 datasets.

It contains a range of imaging scans, including structural, functional and diffusion MRI scans, standardising them according to the Brain Imaging Data Structure (BIDS). The imaging hub enables complex research analysis to be carried out across data from different modalities with the imaging in the new hub linked to the phenotypic and genomic data associated with them.

Speaking about the new resource, Professor Ronan Lyons, Associate Director at DPUK and DPUK Data Portal Lead, said: “The Imaging Hub opens up a new world of possibilities for researchers - giving them easy access to a wealth of data - which can help transform our understanding of dementia.”


Gateway to advanced analyses and use of artificial intelligence and machine learning

The Imaging Hub is a gateway for researchers to access brain imaging scans from over 6,000 people. Along with a wealth of phenotypic and genomic data collected by cohorts, it is a rich data resource for advanced analyses using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

In recent years there has been a surge in the use of AI and ML for dementia research made possible by growing amounts of data which can be used to train models.


Secure advanced analysis

The imaging hub is the latest addition to DPUK’s Data Portal, a free-to-access resource containing records of over 3 million people. Researchers can select cohorts relevant to their studies and use the platform to analyse it in a secure, remote environment, complete with data linkage and analysis packages. All analyses are conducted within the portal and only results are allowed to leave the Trusted Research Environment. There is an integrated HPC cluster to enable more computationally heavy analysis.


New Imaging tools

As part of the new imaging capacity, an imaging data discovery tool has been created offering a ‘dashboard’ view of the data and types of scans available in the hub. Data Insight Reports are also being developed to give an in-depth view of the datasets including information on disease subtypes and collection methods.

As well as accessing data in the Imaging Hub researchers can also apply to store their large datasets with the imaging pipeline. This enables their data to be standardised, defaced, and tagged for improved provisioning and research-ready data.

More information is available at: