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Development and Implementation of Neuroimaging Analysis in Dementia

Funding body/stream

NIHR - Healthcare Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship

Chief investigator

Dr Robin Holmes


University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

Start date and duration

1st January 2014 for 4 years


£  355,224


The NHS annually spends €50-100M on brain scanning but recognising the signs of dementia in scans is difficult.

Comparing patient scans to images of healthy volunteers using analysis software is helpful and has been shown to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. However this technique is not routinely used as it is complicated and difficult to ensure it is producing accurate results. Therefore we have developed new devices to calibrate brain scanners so that the analysis software is more accurate.  We will also provide training in the use of the software to clinicians using imaging case studies.


Substantial database of well-categorised patient scans for training, research and future software development.

Validated and optimised analysis software for CT, MRI and SPECT in use by trained clinicians across the region.  Initial work will take place at NBT and University Hospital Southampton (UHS) followed by dissemination to UHBristol, Bath, Swindon and Cheltenham/Gloucester.

Well documented procedures for implementing analysis and training at other NHS centres.

A range of advanced novel phantoms and procedures for the characterisation and removal of differing imaging characteristics between SPECT, CT and (possibly) MRI scanners.

Patient and public involvement

The South West DeNDRoN patient panel were given a summary of the research and asked the following questions:

. Do you think that this research will be useful?

. Have you experienced any particular problems associated with late diagnosis?

. Do you want to know more details of how this will work?

One particular reply pointed out a recent open letter in the BMJ regarding dementia 'screening' and gave the opinion that early and precise diagnosis of dementia in the absence of effective therapeutic treatments may not be a wise use of money and patient's time. The two other replies were enthusiastic about the research and wanted to know further details; one of these replies mentioned problems that had been encountered due to late diagnosis.

The WCP data will be made freely available to NHS users via DeNDRoN.

Links to further information

Robin Holmes was included in the Health Service Journal's (HSJ) published list of top 50 healthcare innovators for 2014, for his work developing brain phantoms for medical imaging: