Using The Virtual Brain to predict brain health

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Photo of Dr. Randy McIntosh Photo Credit: Michael Burgstahler, Two Tribes

Baycrest scientists, along with collaborators from 10 sites and three continents, have developed the world’s first Virtual Brain: an integrated computer model of a fully functioning human brain. The Virtual Brain simulates how the brain functions under various normal conditions, how it changes with the aging process and how it responds to damage from trauma or disease.

Based on The Virtual Brain, the team is now working on a model that can stimulate changes in the brain that could predict brain health.

“The idea behind the new Healthy Aging Model is to identify the critical features in brain structures and functions that change from young adulthood to middle age and to older age that are predictive of cognitive status,” says Dr. McIntosh, senior scientist at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI) and one of the leaders of The Virtual Brain.

With the Healthy Aging Model, Dr. McIntosh and his colleagues aim to identify and understand when and how this process changes in healthy aging. The hope is that by using this model, individuals can know whether they are on a healthy trajectory or not, and this can serve as another piece of information for them in maintaining their brain health. 

Visit or follow @TheVirtualBrain on Twitter to find out more about the team’s progress.
Thank you to Dr. Max & Gianna Glassman for their support as Founding Sponsors of The Virtual Brain.

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