Brain & Body

Brain & Body

The Brain & Body Theme aims to advance the understanding of relations between the brain and body in health and cardiometabolic disease. Clinical and basic scientists in this evolving multidisciplinary group come together to study the interaction of genetic and environmental factors (eg. Stress), throughout the lifecourse, on brain microstructure and function and the consequent effects on major organs of the body relevant to cardiometabolic disease.

Stress and Development

Stress and glucocorticoids have major impact on function of all organs of the body and the brain. Hence understanding the control of these hormones by the brain (Hypothalamo-Pituitary-Axis) is crucial. Particular vulnerability is seen in development where organ maturation and structure( eg, heart, vasculature and brain) are disrupted.

The Ageing Brain

The health of the brain and body is dependent in part upon the events that occur throughout life. Risk factors for a healthy brain are hypertension, atherosclerosis, inflammation, cerebral hypoperfusion (and stroke) and stress. Studies are ongoing to determine the events occurring in the brain that cause cognitive decline in response to these risk factors, and how these effects can be reversed therapeutically.

Central Regulation of Salt, Appetite, Blood Pressure and Metabolism

It is becoming more crucial to understand the role of the brain in regulating appetite, blood pressure and metabolism. Using unique animal models we are able to dissect the importance of the brain in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Imaging the Brain and Body in Health and Disease

In vivo imaging and modelling of humans and animals can provide important information on structure and function of different organs in a non invasive manner. Many CVS members use the excellent preclinical (Edinburgh Preclinical Imaging) and clinical (CRIC - Edinburgh Imaging Facility QMRI and BRIC - Edinburgh Imaging Facility WGH) facilities to generate state-of the art imaging protocols to determine novel biomarkers and therapies for their respective fields.