Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 68

How neurosurgeons can
now look at your brain –
through your eyes
For many years, scientists have been trying to find
a way to measure the pressure in a patient’s brain
without having to drill a hole in the person’s skull.
Although this remains the most reliable way to
measure pressure in the brain, it is invasive, expensive,
and comes with the risk of infection and bleeding.
Assessing pressure inside the brain is an
important part of diagnosing certain
neurosurgical conditions. These include brain
tumours, cranial deformities, traumatic brain
injury, and infection.
Several years ago, ultrasound imaging
technology – which uses an ultrasound
probe, over the eye – was introduced
as a non-invasive method to identify
this pressure, using static imaging.
Although it allows neurosurgeons to
assess most cases of pressure inside
the brain, static ultrasound imaging
does not pick up all cases.
Our study has advanced the
current static imaging method. Our
technique involves analysing a short
video clip of the back of the eye
to mark pressure in the brain. It is a
faster and potentially more accurate
process than the existing technique.
Dr Llewellyn Padayachy.
There are limited statistics about
children with neurosurgical disorders in Africa,
but the number of children with hydrocephalus
is thought to be quite high. Hydrocephalus is
the result of a build-up of fluid pressure, which
compresses the brain and causes the skull to
enlarge. Untreated, it can result in death. A
reliable technique to estimate the pressure on
the brain, therefore, needs to be very accurate.

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