Medical Data Analytics
The medical data analytics focus area was set up to addresses the challenges of accessing and analyzing Big Data for clinical neuroscience research. Finding solutions for these challenges is helping advance our understanding of the human brain and its diseases, with the aim of improving patients’ outcomes.
Six European expert teams came together to create two such solutions by combining clinical neuroscience, software engineering and data science know-how. They built the Medical Informatics Platform (MIP) and the Human Intracerebral EEG Platform (HIP) which are now available on EBRAINS (Work with health data - Health research platforms - EBRAINS).
Medical Informatics Platform
Collaborative studies are essential for advancing science. They allow researchers to exchange, work together and obtain more robust findings along with new insights. However, when organizing such studies, researchers face many obstacles related to data privacy and security, data interoperability, legal and ethical considerations, technical limitations and social and organizational disparities. These barriers can be reduced using federated data analysis.
From the start of the Human Brain Project (HBP), multiple teams came together to design an adapted solution for federated analysis. It was finally in 2013, that a collaborative effort initiated between the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV, Switzerland), a team from the Athena Research Center (Athena RC, Greece) and the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB, Greece) resulted in the development of the Medical Informatics Platform (MIP). The platform was designed to simplify collaboration by allowing different healthcare institutions to access and analyze data between them without sharing the actual data itself. By the end of the HBP project, the MIP was deployed in over 50 centers and fostered 8 federations focused on clinical research within the fields of epilepsy, stroke, dementia and traumatic brain injury.
In the near future, the MIP is set to be integrated into the EU H2020 study EPND, aimed at establishing a European Platform for Neurodegenerative Diseases. Additionally, within the context of the EU H2020 study eCREAM, the platform will broaden its data scope to encompass domains beyond neuroscience, thereby enhancing the use and valorization of health data on a broader scale.
Learn more about MIP (https://www.ebrains.eu/tools/medical-informatics-platform)
Human Intracerebral EEG Platform
An estimated 50 million people suffer from epilepsy worldwide. Around two thirds of them can treat or manage their seizures using anti-epileptic medication. For some of the remaining patients, a surgical treatment can be offered to cure their epilepsy. This requires identifying the brain region generating seizures, which can require intracerebral recording of their brain activity, i.e., intra-cerebral electroencephalography (iEEG). This is a complex and invasive procedure performed in a limited number of specialized centers (about 150 worldwide), that generates invaluable data to better understand epilepsy and human brain functions at large. Sharing such data to advance knowledge in clinical and cognitive neuroscience has become a major objective for the scientific community.
In 2020, four teams from the University Hospital of Lausanne (CHUV, Switzerland), Aix-Marseille University (AMU, France), Grenoble Alpes University (UGA, France) and Claude Bernard University Lyon 1 (UCBL, France) joined efforts to create a platform for sharing iEEG data among healthcare institutions. This gave rise to the Human Intracerebral EEG Platform designed to offer state-of-the-art tools in a cloud based Trusted Research Environment (TRE) where researchers can securely share their data. Users can access their data and workflows easily, regardless of their location, and have the flexibility to define and manage their collaboration preferences within any of the three access levels available: private, collaborative, or open.
Currently hosted at CHUV in Switzerland, the HIP is foreseen for being duplicated across multiple GDPR-compliant cloud environments within the EBRAINS infrastructure for sharing iEEG and neuroimaging data. This expansion will enhance data accessibility and facilitate international research collaborations.
Learn more about HIP (https://www.ebrains.eu/tools/human-intracerebral-eeg-platform)