Unravelling the causal mechanisms that link vascular function and regulation to adverse brain health outcome is crucial to improve the clinical prognosis in a.o. Alzheimer’s Disease and complex vascular surgery. Short, non-invasive (10 minutes) recordings of blood pressure, heart rate, and cerebral perfusion provide a wealth of information ranging from vascular dynamics to autonomic nervous system function, and from baroreflex function to cerebral autoregulation. This information can be used to unravel causal mechanisms, e.g., to identify effects of aging on vascular function, effects of Alzheimer’s disease on vascular function, and clinical associations of vascular function (vascular events, Alzheimer progression, and therapeutic implications). We propose to develop and apply causal discovery techniques to disentangle the many confounding variables from the key causal mechanisms behind these changes. In particular, we will adapt a multisource JCI framework for the novel CD-NOD algorithm to identify key drivers behind these non-stationary processes.
The result of this project will be a single, coherent model that will: i) provide insights into predictors for short-term outcomes (mortality, ICU stay, delirium, stroke), ii) long term outcomes (neurological function, cognition, vascular events), and iii) guide selection of different clinical treatment alternatives. The techniques developed may translate to other areas of medical interest.