Your brain has its own waterscape: Whether you are reading or sleeping, fluid flows through your brain tissue and clears out waste. New medical research has shown that this waterscape is more essential than what was previously believed and that this flow is indeed crucial for the brain's well-being. In particular, the waste accumulation is linked to neurological diseases such as dementia (Alzheimer's disease) and to brain swelling caused by stroke.
Today, our understanding of the brain's cleansing process is dominated by experimental studies on mice during which pieces of brain tissue close to the skull are removed and studied via microscope. However, such methods have their weaknesses: It is hard or even impossible to look deep enough into the brain and it is not feasible to study the human brain with the same techniques.
This project, "The Numerical Waterscape of the Brain", aims to develop a new computational technology platform that instead allows for studying the brain's waterscape through numerical computations and simulations. The project will develop new, reliable numerical methods for computing the flow of tissue fluid through the brain, will evaluate and compare different models and scenarios, and will validate the simulation results using data from physical experiments. The project will also push forward and use computer simulations as virtual experiments to see how sleep can affect the fluid flow through brain tissue and how to ensure best possible clearance of waste through the waterscape.
The project will yield new mathematical models and numerical methods together with freely available open source simulation software for further use and new studies. As such, the project will provide an entirely new avenue for understanding the brain's waterscape.
The primary objective of this project is to develop a new numerical and technological foundation for computational studies of tissue fluid circulation and metabolic solute transport through the brain under both normal and pathological conditions.
Research Council of Norway, FRINATEK