News & Views
Retinal Scans Provide Heart Failure Warning Signals
Jun 18 2019
CARDIATEAM, a pan-European £12 million project led by the University of Dundee, aims to develop an early warning system for predicting whether people living with diabetes are at risk of heart failure, an initiative with the potential to save thousands of lives every year. Researchers will use advanced AI software on the scans in a bid to pinpoint potential health issues.
Professor Chim Lang, the University’s Head of the Division of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, said that studying the eyes are crucial in identifying warning signs. “This project is about developing a new way of predicting risk to a person’s health. People’s eyes change depending on their health, for instance if they are diabetic, but from one image we can evaluate huge amounts of valuable information. Even small changes in the size of a person’s blood vessels could give us critical knowledge about the health of their heart.
“Both diabetes and heart failure are dangerous, but together they are a lethal combination. The mechanisms of how these two conditions interact are not particularly well known and that is what this project is attempting to find out. If we know what the triggers are then we know how to treat it better.”
The British Heart Foundation estimates that more than half a million people are on their GP’s heart failure register with estimates showing that there are as many as 920,000 people living with the condition throughout the UK.
The CARDIATEAM initiative has been co-funded by the European Union and European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association. In total, 22 partners from across the continent are involved in the ambitious project. Around 1600 volunteers will be recruited to supply retinal photographs that will be analysed with the revolutionary VAMPIRE retinal analysis software, developed by Dundee in conjunction with the University of Edinburgh.
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