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AI points to heart variation genes

Thursday September 26th, 2019

Genetic factors account for a significant part of the variations found in the size and function of the left ventricle of the heart, according to the findings of a ground-breaking artificial intelligence study, published today.

Researchers in London, UK, used AI to analyse MRI images from 17,000 healthy volunteers enrolled in the UK Biobank.

This enabled them to link variations with genetic information.

According to the findings, published in the journal Circulation, genetic factor account for between 22% and 39% of the variation in the size and function of the left ventricle.

Researchers at Queen Mary, University of London, found 14 regions of the human genome responsible for these factors.

Researcher Dr Nay Aung said: “It is exciting that the state-of-the-art AI techniques now allow rapid and accurate measurement of the tens of thousands of heart MRI images required for genetic studies. The findings open up the possibility of earlier identification of those at risk of heart failure and of new targeted treatments.

“The AI tool allowed us to analyse images in a fraction of the time it would otherwise have taken. Our academic and commercial partners are further developing these AI algorithms to analyse other aspects of cardiac structure and function."

Professor Steffen Petersen, a cardiologist at Queen Mary, said: “Previous studies have shown that differences in the size and function of the heart are partly influenced by genes but we have not really understood the extent of that genetic influence. This study has shown that several genes known to be important in heart failure also appear to regulate the heart size and function in healthy people.

"That understanding of the genetic basis of heart structure and function in the general population improves our knowledge of how heart failure evolves."

Nay Aung, Steffen Petersen, et al. Genome-wide association study of LV phenotype. Circulation 26 September 2019

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.119.041161

Tags: Genetics | Heart Health | UK News

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