Assoc. Prof. Walid Albanna
University Hospital RWTH Aachen
Prof. Walid Albanna was announced as the Arab World’s Top Innovator during the show Stars of Science 2018. He developed a smart device that can predict and detect a stroke in patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage (a subtype of a brain hemorrhage). His scientific research has been published in the most significant scientific journals; and he has been awarded DGNI-Award as the best scientific and clinical research in Germany, 2017. He has been awarded the Venia Legendi “Associate Professor” in Neurosurgery at the University RWTH Aachen 2019. He grew up in Gaza City and received a high school diploma in Gaza Strip, Palestine. Walid graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cologne, Germany (2009) and he works currently as a consultant neurosurgeon at the University Hospital RWTH Aachen, Germany.
He leads a high-precision BioMarker database of patients with brain hemorrhage (subarachnoid hemorrhage, SAH). He has been able to gain scientific expertise from the University of Minnesota (Department of Neuroscience) and the University of California Davis (EyePod Laboratory) in the United States of America.
The Eye as a Window to the Brain
Patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) face persistently high overall morbidity and mortality. Cerebral vessel constriction (vasospasm) after aSAH occurs in about 2/3 of patients, and in about half of the cases, they develop ischemic strokes. Delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), defined as clinical worsening, or new functional deficit (oxygenation crisis or metabolic disturbance), has been shown to contribute significantly the cerebral infarction, which in turn influences the outcome. Timely detection of cerebral vasospasm or DCI is essential to improve outcome, but can pose a diagnostic challenge, particularly in sedated patients where the neurological examination is difficult to perform. Changes in vessel caliber and functionality of autoregulation and neurovascular coupling have been shown to be predictive of clinical outcome, and continuous or reproducible assessment of these parameters could potentially be used to optimize further established treatment efforts and improve outcome. For this patient subgroup, advanced monitoring techniques are available, but for the most part are either non-invasive and momentary or invasive and continuous. Ideally, these modalities could be supplemented with an alternative, non-invasive and continuous or repeatable monitoring approach. The retinal vasculature shares an embryological origin with strictly intracranial vessels and lends itself as a new tool for cerebrovascular monitoring. With the idea of electronic device, a variety of relevant alterations can be detected (vasospasm after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage, stroke, arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus and many other diseases). After detection of altered neuronal function, a confirmatory invasive testing can be initiated and rescue neurosurgical and/or endovascular therapies can be performed earlier to improve outcome. Dr. Albanna has developed a portable device that detect brain changes after Scanning of the retina and won the first place as top innovator during the show Stars of Science 2018.