|Above: Two MS-lesion patterns and relevant variograms.|
Multiple sclerosis (MS), the most frequent disabling neurological disease of young adults in Europe and North America, is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). In the brain and spinal column, MS leads to typical demyelinating lesions with the size of a few mm to cm and associated neurological deficits. Despite of intense international efforts, important aspects of MS like the exact illness triggers, possible disease sub-types and progression prognosis are still obscure. Today, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans are routinely carried out in MS patients to document the state and course of the disease as well as treatment efficacy.
An interdisciplinary cooperation of the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics – Z_GIS, Paracelsus Medical University and the Salzburg University Institute of Psychology focuses on the spatiotemporal evolution of MS-lesion patterns: Anonymized MRI data of MS cases, as derived from radiological databases are geometrically normalized and forwarded to automated geostatistical analysis. Variogram models enable a parameter based description of key spatiotemporal aspects of MS-lesion patterns, providing input data for continuing group and inter-group studies of MS-associated brain damage.
First results were now published in the Journal of Neuroimaging (Marschallinger et al. 2013, Usability and Potential of Geostatistics for Spatial Discrimination of Multiple Sclerosis Lesion Patterns. DOI: 10.1111/jon.12000)