Esther Pueyo, from the research group BSICoS, coordinator of Unit 27 of NANBIOSIS, explains for the program “En route with science” of Aragon Television, her research on arrhythmias: irregularities in the functioning of the heart. Arrhythmias are the cause of 25,000 deaths per year and half of hospital admissions in Spain.
First of all they study experimentally (extracting tissues from the heart of animals and humans) how the electrical activity of the said tissues is. Then, the information collected is introduced in mathematical models to understand the heart and to make predictions of what can happen in the future and why some behaviours in the heartbeat of a patient can be dangerous. For that process, stochastic equations are used that do not have a single solution and adapt to the variability of biology. These equations allow researchers to better interpret what the electrocardiogram signals say and to make predictions of risk with greater reliability. This is a multidisciplinary research in which mathematicians, engineers, physicists, biologists, electrophysiologists collaborate to make the most of the data obtained from patients.
To carry out this research, Esther Pueyo heads the European project “MODELAGE” for which she obtained a “Starting Gran” with funding of 1.5 million euros. They model patient data collected for the project to obtain different models, not only for each individual, but also for the different tissues or cells of the same patient.
In this project they study the aging of the heart, but in the BSICoS group, they also study other types of arrhythmias, such as heart attack, ischemia, or heart behaviour of astronauts participating in a special mission, who are at increased risk for arrhythmias or babies with congenital diseases that provide them with an increased risk of having arrhythmias.
Computational modelling necessary to reproduce the experimental and clinical observations and the signal analysis are be developed using the computing platform, Unit 27 of NANBIOSIS.
For further information:
http://alacarta.aragontelevision.es/programas/en-ruta-con-la-ciencia/ Cap 44