Dr. Kumar's laboratory uses magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and various MRI procedures, including high-resolution T1-weighted imaging, T2-relaxometry, magnetization transfer imaging, diffusional kurtosis imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, arterial spin labeling, and functional magnetic resonance imaging to assist in the localization of abnormal brain regions and assess neural activity in patients with OSA and HF.
Research has demonstrated that HF patients show brain injury in autonomic, mood, and cognitive regulatory areas. The research team has also differentiated different types of white matter injury (axonal or myelin injury), and showed that HF subjects exhibit more neural damage than OSA patients, particularly in brain areas that serve memory and mood functions. Dr. Kumar’s lab seeks to determine the onset of the neural damage in HF and OSA, the specific cardiovascular or breathing effects that the damage could exert, and the extent of progression as the syndrome continues. These findings could lead to preventative measures before the severe consequences, such as hypertension, stroke, and daytime hypersomnia in OSA patients, and autonomic, mood and cognitive deficits in HF patients. This research will help identify the problems earlier, leading to earlier treatment, and give us a greater understanding of the causes of HF and OSA.