A team led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London has developed a new artificial intelligence (AI) tool capable of automatically measuring the amount of fat around the heart based on MRI scans.
With the new tool, the team was able to show that a larger amount of fat around the heart is linked to a significantly higher risk of diabetes, regardless of a person’s age, gender and body mass index.
The research is published in the journal Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine and is the result of funding for the CAP-AI program led by Barts Life Sciences, a research and innovation partnership between Queen Mary University of London and Barts Health NHS Trust.
The distribution of fat in the body can affect a person’s risk of developing various diseases. The commonly used measure of body mass index (BMI) mainly reflects the accumulation of fat under the skin and not around the internal organs. In particular, there is evidence that fat accumulation around the heart may be a predictor of heart disease and has been linked to a number of conditions including atrial fibrillation, diabetes, and coronary artery disease.
The lead researcher Dr. Zahra Raisi-Estabragh of the Queen Mary University of London said: “Unfortunately, measuring the amount of fat around the heart manually is challenging and time-consuming, which is why nobody has been able to study it.” do this thoroughly in studies on large groups of people.
“To address this problem, we invented an AI tool that can be applied to standard MRI scans of the heart to automatically and quickly get a measurement of the adipose tissue around the heart in less than three seconds. This tool can be used by future researchers to learn about the links between the fat around the heart and the risk of disease, but also possibly in the future as part of a patient’s standard care in the hospital. “
The research team tested the AI algorithm’s ability to interpret images from cardiac MRI scans of more than 45,000 people, including participants from the UK Biobank, a database of health information from over half a million participants across the UK. The team found that in these images, the AI tool could accurately determine the amount of fat around the heart and also calculate a patient’s risk of diabetes.
Dr. Andrew Bard of Queen Mary University of London, who oversaw technical development, added, “The AI tool also has a built-in method of calculating the uncertainty of its own results, so it could be said to have an impressive ability to mark his own homework. “
Professor Steffen Petersen of Queen Mary University of London, who oversaw the project, said, “This novel tool has great utility for future research and, if clinical benefit is demonstrated, it can be used in clinical practice to improve patient care Value of interdisciplinary collaborations in medical research, particularly in cardiovascular imaging. “
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Materials provided by Queen Mary University of London. Note: The content can be edited in terms of style and length.