The Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center (BNAC) is a dedicated research center that is a world leader in investigating interdependencies between the nervous and cardiovascular systems in neurodegenerative neurological diseases and aging using improved diagnostic tools.

A complex interaction exists between the nervous and cardiovascular systems. A large network of cortical and subcortical brain regions control cardiovascular function via the sympathetic and parasympathetic outflow, and in the other direction cardiovascular health can have dramatic impacts on brain function. A dysfunction in one system may lead to changes in the function of the other. The effects of cardiovascular disease on the nervous system have been widely studied; however, our understanding of the effects of neurological disorders on the cardiovascular system has only expanded in the past 2 decades.

In collaboration with Dr. Adnan Siddiqui from the Department of Neurosurgery at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Paolo Zamboni from University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy, BNAC has published numerous cardiovascular-related articles investigating the heart-brain axis in multiple sclerosis (MS) and other neurological disorders.

Over the last two decades, more favorable MS long-term outcomes have contributed to an increase in prevalence of the aged MS population. Dr. Dejan Jakimovski, BNAC’s Director of Clinical Research investigated in a number of recent studies the emergence of age-associated pathology, such as cardiovascular diseases, and their interaction with the MS pathophysiology and further contribution to the disease progression. Cardiovascular health, the presence of various cardiovascular diseases, and their effects on MS cognitive performance were explored in a number of recent publications by BNAC researchers.

In similar fashion, the emerging evidence of a higher incidence of extracranial arterial pathology and its association with brain MS pathology was the subject of intense BNAC’s research. To study this, BNAC investigated and improved methodologies behind specific perfusion MRI and ultrasound Doppler techniques, which allow measurement of disease-specific and age-specific vascular changes in the aging population and MS patients. Using these methods, BNAC has been able to confirm that cardiovascular pathology significantly contributes to worse clinical and MRI-derived disease outcomes in MS. Global and regional cerebral hypoperfusion may be associated with poorer physical and cognitive performance. Prevention, improved detection, and treatment of the cardiovascular-based pathology may improve the overall long-term health of MS patients.

For more information about heart-brain axis imaging endpoints, click here.


  • Jakimovski D, Zivadinov R, Weinstock-Guttman B, Bergsland N, Dwyer MG, Lagana MM (2020) Longitudinal analysis of cerebral aqueduct flow measures: multiple sclerosis flow changes driven by brain atrophy. Fluids Barriers CNS 17:9 [Open article]

  • Jakimovski D, Topolski M, Genovese AV, Weinstock-Guttman B, Zivadinov R (2019) Vascular aspects of multiple sclerosis: emphasis on perfusion and cardiovascular comorbidities. Expert Rev Neurother 19:445-458 [Open article]

  • Jakimovski D, Gandhi S, Paunkoski I, Bergsland N, Hagemeier J, Ramasamy DP, Hojnacki D, Kolb C, Benedict RHB, Weinstock-Guttman B, Zivadinov R (2019) Hypertension and heart disease are associated with development of brain atrophy in multiple sclerosis: a 5-year longitudinal study. Eur J Neurol 26:87-e88 [Open article]

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Part of BNAC’s mission is to help share our tools and experience with our colleagues and other industry partners. If you need help with exploring heart-brain axis imaging endpoints in your research or clinical trial work, please reach out to discuss how we can assist. Our group brings decades of experience and expertise to every collaborative study and service partnership.

If you need help in your study using various heart-brain axis imaging endpoints speak with our team at BNAC. Our team bring decades of experience to every study we manage. Call us or fill out a form to learn more about our neuroimaging services today!

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