Ambitious New Tool is Helping in Treatment for Brain Diseases

The Human Brian Project released the first version of its Medical Informatics Platform last year and the powerful new tool is already producing results. The Platform allows interactive access to brain-related medical information throughout European hospitals and research centres and the project reports five European hospitals and research cohorts have already been recruited.

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The Medical Informatics Platform (MIP) allows interactive access to brain-related medical information throughout European hospitals and research centres. The EU-funded Human Brain Project (HBP) reports five European hospitals and research cohorts have already been recruited. Initial, valuable results, including distributed analyses for electronic health records, brain and omics data, are now coming in. The tool has also enabled the identification of new dementia subtypes as well as the first biological signatures for prognosis before the onset of dementia.

The Platform provides researchers and healthcare professionals in Europe with a much-needed resource. High quality data exist in abundance: the majority is stored in hospitals, data centers and research facilities where it is used on a local basis. But the issue of brain disease is spread across the population and getting an overview of conditions and trends means an approach that goes beyond the local. A recent study has estimated over a third of Europeans are directly affected by one of five hundred diseases, including migraine, addiction, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.

Open to researchers and clinicians, the MIP stimulates large-scale collaboration by fostering ideas and creating networks throughout Europe and beyond. One of the tool’s main goals is to characterise complete disease pathways based on the biological signatures of diseases, from the molecular level up to the observable disorders of cognition and behaviour. The involvement of the scientific and medical communities is vital if this goal is to be reached.

While anyone can ask for a login and then access the knowledge shared on the platform, a familiarity with the domain of neuroscience will be necessary to use the data efficiently. The profiles most likely to participate and benefit are: clinicians, neuroscientists, epidemiologists, computing developers and pharmaceutical R&D. The platform is the result of collaboration between hundreds of actors and is an infrastructure in constant evolution.

The software, deployed in each hospital, captures, anonymises, federates and analyses patients’ data which can be use to answer queries submitted to the platform. The HBP’s team is developing processes to facilitate the capture of brain images and feature processing. They are also working on data storage and distribution along with machine learning tools to extract biological signatures from multi-level data.

Source: Based on information CORDIS.