Multi-organ imaging project
Professor Peter Jezzard, Vice Master, Professorial Fellow and Herbert Dunhill Professor of Neuroimaging in the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the John Radcliffe Hospital, is involved in a COVID-19 multi-organ imaging project that will seek to study the acute and longer-term effects of COVID-19 on the lungs, heart, liver, kidneys and brain.
Although COVID-19 is most associated with the lungs and respiratory complications, there is mounting evidence that the virus can also affect other organs in the body, particularly the heart, circulatory system, and also the brain. Indeed, inflammation in the respiratory control centres in the brain are thought play a role in exacerbating the oxygen supply problems experienced by patients. There are also widely reported alterations to taste and smell perception, and concerns that other neurological and psychiatric disorders may be triggered by COVID-19.
Professor Jezzard is working with a large team of clinicians and scientists to try to characterise damage in various organs in the body using advanced medical imaging technologies, particularly magnetic resonance imaging techniques that show changes in tissue structure and metabolism. The aim is to study patients in the acute phase of their disease in a specialist acute imaging research centre at the John Radcliffe Hospital, and then also study recovering patients to assess longer-term damage in a second specialist imaging research centre, also at the John Radcliffe Hospital (for obvious reasons it will be important to keep the acute and recovered patient groups in separate studies in separate imaging facilities).
The University of Oxford is uniquely placed to conduct this type of study, having both a broad range of imaging scientists with specialisms in different organ systems, as well as multiple state-of-the-art imaging centres to conduct the scanning. The scans will be acquired in such a way that they are also comparable with rich information acquired as part of the ongoing UK Biobank Imaging Extension project, that members of the Oxford team are also involved in.
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Published: 27 April 2020