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The brain and the heart are the two organs which have been studied more than any other, providing a profound, though still incomplete, understanding of ageing and the development of disease. This is a DPUK funded study, led by Steve Williams at King’s College London.

Imaging studies have allowed detailed investigation of the structure and function of the brain and heart, but imaging these organs in isolation will not provide a comprehensive understanding of vascular risk and how it relates to dementia.

This project applies automated image analysis to heart and brain images acquired by UK Biobank. The researchers are looking for early evidence of structural and functional correlates between heart and brain in a cross-section of the mature UK adult population, with particular interest in early indicators of adverse brain changes which might be coupled across organs. Identifying early indicators would potentially provide insight into early pathological ageing affects and give additional motivation for protecting cognitive function by maintaining cardiac health.