Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have invented a method to simultaneously study the variations in nerve functions and brain blood flow associated with brain disorders such as ischemic stroke.

The device can also help in identifying the progress of diseases such as Parkinson’s and predict the occurrence of these diseases even before the presence of symptoms, an official statement said.

Dr Shubhajit Roy Chowdhury, Associate Professor, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering and the lead researcher has published the findings in IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine.

The team has been recently granted a US patent for the invention, an official statement said.

According to the researchers, the method helps in locating and classifying damaged sites (lesions) in the brain that leads to neurological diseases.

Dr Roy Chowdhury collaborated with Dr Abhijit Das, a neurologist from the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata, and Dr Anirban Dutta, Assistant Professor in Restorative Neurorehabilitation, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University at Buffalo, USA.

The IIT Mandi team’s invention is based on intricate interactions between nerve cells (neurons) and blood vessels (vasculature), called the NeuroVascular Coupling (NVC) that regulates blood flow in the brain.

Diseases such as ischemic stroke adversely affect the NVC. NeuroVascular uncoupling results in such cases, wherein, the nerve impulses do not trigger the required blood flow, the researchers said.

“Our method uses a multi-modal brain stimulation system to differentially stimulate different components of the neurovascular unit (NVU) and observes the resultant electrical nerve signals by EEG (electroencephalography) and blood flow by near Infrared spectroscopy (NIRS),” explained the lead researcher.

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