"Stiffness Pulsation of the Human Brain Detected by Non-Invasive Time-Harmonic Elastography"

August 15, 2023

Congratulations to Professor Marvin Doyley on the publication of the journal article titled "Stiffness pulsation of the human brain detected by non-invasive time-harmonic elastography." Co-authors include colleagues from the Department of Radiology and the Institute of Medical Informatics at Charité—University Medicine Berlin, Berlin, Germany. This article appears in Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. The abstract appears below and more information can be found here

Abstract: Introduction: Cerebral pulsation is a vital aspect of cerebral hemodynamics. Changes in arterial pressure in response to cardiac pulsation cause cerebral pulsation, which is related to cerebrovascular compliance and cerebral blood perfusion. Cerebrovascular compliance and blood perfusion influence the mechanical properties of the brain, causing pulsation-induced changes in cerebral stiffness. However, there is currently no imaging technique available that can directly quantify the pulsation of brain stiffness in real time. Methods: Therefore, we developed non-invasive ultrasound time-harmonic elastography (THE) technique for the real-time detection of brain stiffness pulsation. We used state-of-the-art plane-wave imaging for interleaved acquisitions of shear waves at a frequency of 60 Hz to measure stiffness and color flow imaging to measure cerebral blood flow within the middle cerebral artery. In the second experiment, we used cost-effective lineby-line B-mode imaging to measure the same mechanical parameters without flow imaging to facilitate future translation to the clinic. Results: In 10 healthy volunteers, stiffness increased during the passage of the arterial pulse wave from 4.8% ± 1.8% in the temporal parenchyma to 11% ± 5% in the basal cisterns and 13% ± 9% in the brain stem. Brain stiffness peaked in synchrony with cerebral blood flow at approximately 180 ± 30 ms after the cardiac R-wave. Line-by-line THE provided the same stiffness values with similar time resolution as high-end plane-wave THE, demonstrating the robustness of brain stiffness pulsation as an imaging marker. Discussion: Overall, this study sets the background and provides reference values for time-resolved THE in the human brain as a cost-efficient and easy-touse mechanical biomarker associated with cerebrovascular compliance.