Intracranial Aneurysms: Are we Treating a Disease, or Trying to Interfere with Nature's Defence Mechanism?
Supervisor: Dr A Marzo

Aneurysms are balloon-like focal deformations of a blood vessel, and carry an inherent risk of rupture and bleeding. Although intracranial aneurysms affect a relatively large proportion of the population (10%), incidence of rupture is low (1%). When aneurysms rupture however, the consequences are devastating with high rates of morbidity and fatality.

This study will investigate intracranial aneurysms from a different perspective, by hypothesising that rather than a disease, aneurysms of the cerebral arteries are defence mechanisms put in place by nature to compensate against the adverse effects that aging has on our vascular system. 

Engineering has taught us that accumulators can be used in hydraulic systems to attenuate the effects of fluctuating pressure on the system and absorb hydraulic shocks. In a similar fashion IAs may have in our vascular system the role of attenuating the steep pressure fluctuations, and increased pulse wave propagation, that our bodies experience as we grow older and our arteries become stiffer.

Using computational fluid dynamics and fluid-solid interaction modelling techniques, this study will investigate how anuerysms may act to oppose the effects of aging on pressure waveforms and pulse-wave propagation. Previous knowledge of the clincial subject area is not required, although the candidate should demonstrate an interest in learning those clinical aspects that are relevant to the development of the models.

This project will use the methodologies and tools developed within the Virtual Physiological Human initiative, and will be supported by the expertise available within the INSIGNEO institute.
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