Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Treating disease by the numbers

Date:
September 20, 2012
Source:
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science
Summary:
Advances in mathematical modeling are allowing medical professionals to better understand the risk factors that lead to disease.

Mathematical modeling allows researchers to closely mirror patient data, which is helpful in determining the cause and effect of certain risk factors.
Credit: Image courtesy of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science

Mathematical modeling being tested by researchers at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the IU School of Medicine has the potential to impact the knowledge and treatment of several diseases that continue to challenge scientists across the world.

The National Science Foundation recently recognized the work led by Drs. Giovanna Guidoboni, associate professor of mathematics in the School of Science, and Alon Harris, professor of ophthalmology and director of clinical research at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, for its new approach to understanding what actually causes debilitating diseases like glaucoma. Their research could translate to more efficient treatments for diseases like diabetes and hypertension as well.

Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness in the world, yet the only primary form of treatment is to reduce pressure in the patient's eye. However, as many as one-third of the glaucoma patients have no elevated eye pressure, and the current inability to better understand what risk factors led to the disease can hinder treatment options.

Mathematical modeling, which creates an abstract model using mathematical language to describe the behavior of a system, allows doctors to better measure things like blood flow and oxygen levels in fine detail in the eye, the easiest human organ to study without invasive procedures. Models also can be used to estimate what cannot be measured directly, such as the pressure in the ocular vessels.

Through simulations, the mathematical model can help doctors determine the cause and effect of reduced blood flow, cell death and ocular pressure and how those risk factors affect one another in the presence of glaucoma. A better understanding of these factors -- and the ability to accurately measure their interaction -- could greatly improve doctors' ability to treat the root causes of disease, Harris said.

"This is a unique, fresh approach to research and treatment," Harris said. "We're talking about the ability to identify tailor-made treatments for individual patients for diseases that are multi-factorial and where it's difficult to isolate the path and physicality of the disease."

Harris and Guidoboni have worked together for the past 18 months on the project. Dr. Julia Arciero, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at IUPUI, is a principle investigator on the project as well with expertise in mathematical modeling of blood flow.

The preliminary findings have been published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology and the research currently is under review in the Journal of Mathematical Biosciences and Engineering and the European Journal of Ophthalmology. The NSF recognized their work on Aug. 30 with a three-year grant to continue their research.

The pair also presented their findings at the 2012 annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO). Harris suggested that, out of the 12,000 ARVO participants, their group might have been the only research group to include mathematicians, which speaks highly of the cross-disciplinary collaboration occurring regularly at IUPUI.

"We approached this as a pure math question, where you try to solve a certain problem with the data you have," said Guidoboni, co-director of the School of Science Institute for Mathematical Modeling and Computational Science (iM2CS) at IUPUI, a research center dedicated to using modeling methods to solve problems in medicine, the environment and computer science.

Guidoboni has expertise in applied mathematics. She also has a background in engineering, which she said helps her to approach medical research from a tactical standpoint where the data and feedback determine the model. She previously used modeling to better understand blood flow from the heart.

Harris said the potential impact has created quite a stir in the ocular research community.

"The response among our peers has been unheard of. The scientific community has been accepting of this new method and they are embracing it," Harris added.

The group will seek additional research funding through the National Institute of Health, The Glaucoma Foundation and other medical entities that might benefit from the research. The initial success of their collaboration should lead to more cross-disciplinary projects in the future, Guidoboni said.

Also contributing are graduate students in mathematics, Lucia Carichino and Simone Cassani, and researchers in the department of ophthalmology, including Drs. Brent Siesky, Annahita Amireskandari and Leslie Tobe.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. "Treating disease by the numbers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140158.htm>.
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. (2012, September 20). Treating disease by the numbers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140158.htm
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science. "Treating disease by the numbers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120920140158.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Will Living Glue Be A Thing?

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) Using proteins derived from mussels, engineers at MIT have made a supersticky underwater adhesive. They're now looking to make "living glue." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Apple Will Need To Squish These Bugs In iOS 8

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) As users rush to download the latest version of Apple's iOS software, they're running into bugs plaguing battery life, WiFi connectivity, and more. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Company Copies Keys From Photos

Company Copies Keys From Photos

Newsy (Sep. 22, 2014) A new company allows customers to make copies of keys by simply uploading a couple of photos. But could it also be great for thieves? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

Cat Lovers Flock to Los Angeles

AFP (Sep. 22, 2014) The best funny internet cat videos are honoured at LA's Feline Film Festival. Duration: 00:56 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins