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Organ Recital

Combining MRI features of organs with genetic data to identify traits of disease risk

18 August 2021

Organ Recital

When it comes to health, it can be hard to know what’s going on inside. Conditions like heart disease, liver disease and diabetes are on the rise around the world, and the search is on to find ways to identify those most at risk and offer interventions to improve their health. One idea is to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to look at the composition of seven different internal organs in search of early indicators of disease. In the largest study of its kind, researchers have used artificial intelligence (AI) to combine more than 38,000 MRI scans like these from participants in the UK Biobank study with genetic data. They’ve discovered that the scans can be used as a way of gauging health and identified 93 genetic variations associated with disease risks. The findings could feed into new tools to help doctors assess people’s health from the inside out.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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