Defining disease progression in MND from MRI ‘snapshots’

Although conventional brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans are often normal in people with MND, more sophisticated MRI techniques have shown changes in the structure of their brains as the disease progresses. A limitation of even the most recent MRI techniques is that they can only provide a snapshot of the brain at a single moment in the course of the illness.

Only a description of how these MRI changes evolve over time as the disease advances will tell us how the nerve cell damage due to MND is evolving, area by area, in relation to an individual’s symptoms. This could be obtained by collecting several MRI scans from the same person over time, but the nature of MND makes it challenging to get scans showing the course of disease over several years.

We are funding a three year PhD studentship that aims to use a new imaging method to define the progression of MND (our reference: 859-792). The researcher team, involving Profs Mara Cercignani and Nigel Leigh from the University of Sussex, will use MRI scans that have already been obtained from people with MND and healthy controls.Read More »

Mathematics and MND

Following on from physics and X-rays; Matt Gabel is an MND Association PhD student at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School who is using mathematics to study MND. Here Matt blogs about his day and what it’s like being a PhD student.

I’ve just finished my weekly meeting with my supervisors, and I’m walking back over to my lab with a long list of things that I need to do: reading MND papers, filling in PhD paperwork, and emailing colleagues in London about whether they’ve made a fancy new adaptation to the model I’m working on.

My name is Matt, and I’m a first year PhD student using mathematics to study MND.Read More »