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LSUS Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics Collaborates Across Continents

April 05, 2017

Dr. Hector Ferral, Senior Clinical Educator at North Shore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois, visited the Laboratory for Advanced Biomedical Informatics (LABi) at Louisiana State University Shreveport in spring 2017 in order to collaborate with Dr. Marjan Trutschl, Dr. Urska Cvek, Mr. Phillip Kilgore, Mr. Reuben Ajayi, and Dr. J. Steven Alexander (LSU Health Shreveport) on data analytics of a multiple sclerosis database of patients with chronic cerebrovascular insufficiency (CCSVI).

CCSVI is an entity that encompasses multiple obstructions of the main extracranial venous outflow routes. Dr. Paolo Zamboni, a vascular surgeon from University of Ferrara, Italy described the endovascular management of this condition and published the results of the first sixty-five patients in 2009, citing a strong correlation found between CCSVI and multiple sclerosis. Many patients with multiple sclerosis have been treated with a balloon angioplasty or stent since then. The database the team is using is a patient registry created and run by volunteers in the Netherlands, focusing on recording the results of endovascular treatment on patients with CCSVI from all around the world. A total of 1,420 subjects participated between 2010 and 2015, entering data to describe their symptoms (monthly) and all procedures they underwent.

The team at LSU Shreveport has the skills, tools and computer power to perform the analysis, and in the process educates computer science students on pre-processing and analysis techniques involved to mine such data sets in collaboration with medical experts. One of their goals is to determine if the participants that underwent endovascular management of CCSVI had reported better long-term outcomes than patients that did not have such procedure. Dr. Ferral is going to present the first of their results at the 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Neurovascular Disease to be held in Italy in May 2017.

Dr. Hector Ferral is Attending Radiologist at NorthShore University Health System, and formerly Professor of Radiology at Rush University Medical Center. He was the Interventional Radiology Section Director and Fellowship Program Director at Rush. He performs general interventional radiology, including vascular and non-vascular procedures and has done extensive research in venous disorders.

Dr. Urska Cvek and Dr. Marjan Trutschl are Professors of Computer Science and Directors of LABi at LSUS. Dr. J. Steven Alexander is Professor of Physiology at LSU Health Shreveport and has been collaborating on several articles with LABi members. Their work on the CCSVI database is spearheaded by Mr. Phillip Kilgore, Research Scientist and Mr. Reuben Ajayi, Graduate Assistant in LABi. The database was moved to LSUS after it was closed to participants by former LSUS’ graduate student Bennett Upton who is now a Software Developer at CSRA, Inc.