Validation of blood-brain barrier imaging as a biomarker for neuropsychiatric symptoms

When blood-vessels in the brain are damaged, substances can leak from the blood into the brain. Such leakage can affect cognition and mental health, however there are currently no clinically-available tests for detecting such leakage. In this project we are developing a method for diagnosing blood-vessel leakage using MRI. We believe that this technology may help explain why patients diagnosed with the same disease often have very different severities of outcome. We focus on two such diseases in order to understand: (1) why some patients with bipolar disorder experience much more severe depression, anxiety and disability; and (2) why some patients with lupus suffer from debilitating cognitive impairment. We believe that patients who have blood-vessel leakage in the brain are more likely to have worse disease outcomes than similar patients with intact blood-vessels. Emagix aims to ultimately translate the developed methodology into clinical use, allowing doctors to predict disease symptoms/outcomes and assess the efficacy of treatments.

Faculty Supervisor:

Steven Beyea;Chris Bowen


Lyna Kamintsky






Professional, scientific and technical services


Dalhousie University



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