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Stroke patients help study into brain bleeding

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Media captionThe scanner can perform MRI and PET scans

Stroke patients are helping scientists at Edinburgh University understand what might cause bleeding in the brain.

A new powerful combined scanner is being used to detect a build-up of abnormal proteins.

The experts said it may give a clearer understanding of what causes conditions such as strokes and dementia.

The new scanner combines MRI imaging which gives structural details of the brain with PET scanning that looks at brain activity.

It allows the researchers to build up an accurate picture of the brain in a living person in real time.

The scientists from the centre for clinical brain sciences are using data from stroke patients to investigate the build-up of an abnormal protein called amyloid.

They want to understand how it can trigger bleeding and stroke, and in some cases cause dementia.

The scanner will also be used to collect data for dementia patients as part of a huge UK-wide study.

Dr Mark Rodrigues, ECAT clinical lecturer at the university's centre for clinical brain sciences, said: "The MR-PET scanner will transform our ability to detect changes in the brain that occur after stroke.

"We hope that the findings will help us to improve diagnosis and ultimately find new ways of treating the condition."

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