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Until recently, research into brain diseases focused on the study of neurons. Over the past 15 years, our group has pioneered the understanding that damage to brain’s blood vessels often precedes the development of neuronal damage.


Damage to the brain’s small blood vessels – termed the blood brain barrier – can results from:

  • Head injury

  • Infection

  • Stroke

  • Systemic inflammation

  • Ageing


And can lead to

  • Seizures/Epilepsy

  • Neurological complications and dementia

  • Psychiatric ​complications


Our research of the brain’s blood vessels has led to the discovery of a novel diagnostic tool for diseased vasculature.

We developed the first-of-its-kind neuroimaging technique (a specialized MRI approach and mathematic algorithms) for mapping the health of blood vessels in living patients.


The novel method was validated in a series of clinical studies, demonstrating the clinical potential of:

  1. Diagnosing dysfunction of small blood vessels within the brain

  2. Identifying patients at risk of depression and/or cognitive decline​

  3. Evaluating the efficacy of new drugs

Related Publications

1.Blood-brain barrier leakage in systemic lupus erythematosus is associated with gray matter loss and cognitive impairment.

Kamintsky L, Beyea SD, Fisk JD, Hashmi JA, Omisade A, Calkin C, Bardouille T, Bowen C, Quraan M, Mitnitski A, Matheson K, Friedman A, Hanly JG. Ann Rheum Dis. 2020.

2.Slow blood-to-brain transport underlies enduring barrier dysfunction in American football players.

Veksler R, Vazana U, Serlin Y, Prager O, Ofer J, Shemen N, Fisher AM, Minaeva O, Hua N, Saar-Ashkenazy R, Benou I, Riklin-Raviv T, Parker E, Mumby G, Kamintsky L, Beyea S, Bowen CV, Shelef I, O'Keeffe E, Campbell M, Kaufer D, Goldstein LE, Friedman A. Brain. 2020

3.Blood-brain barrier imaging as a potential biomarker for bipolar disorder progression.

Kamintsky L, Cairns KA, Veksler R, Bowen C, Beyea SD, Friedman A, Calkin C. Neuroimage Clin. 2020.

4.Dynamic Blood-Brain Barrier Regulation in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

O'Keeffe E, Kelly E, Liu Y, Giordano C, Wallace E, Hynes M, Tiernan S, Meagher A, Greene C, Hughes S, Burke T, Kealy J, Doyle N, Hay A, Farrell M, Grant GA, Friedman A, Veksler R, Molloy MG, Meaney JF, Pender N, Camarillo D, Doherty CP, Campbell M. J Neurotrauma. 2020.

5.Early blood-brain barrier dysfunction predicts neurological outcome following aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Lublinsky S, Major S, Kola V, Horst V, Santos E, Platz J, Sakowitz O, Scheel M, Dohmen C, Graf R, Vatter H, Wolf S, Vajkoczy P, Shelef I, Woitzik J, Martus P, Dreier JP, Friedman A. EBioMedicine. 2019.

6.Blood-brain barrier dysfunction in canine epileptic seizures detected by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.

Hanael E, Veksler R, Friedman A, Bar-Klein G, Senatorov VV Jr, Kaufer D, Konstantin L, Elkin M, Chai O, Peery D, Shamir MH. Epilepsia. 2019.

7.Blood-Brain Barrier Leakage: A New Biomarker in Transient Ischemic Attacks.

Serlin Y, Ofer J, Ben-Arie G, Veksler R, Ifergane G, Shelef I, Minuk J, Horev A, Friedman A. Stroke. 2019.

8.Blood-brain barrier imaging in human neuropathologies.

Veksler R, Shelef I, Friedman A. Arch Med Res. 2014 

9.Blood-brain barrier disruption in post-traumatic epilepsy.

Tomkins O, Shelef I, Kaizerman I, Eliushin A, Afawi Z, Misk A, Gidon M, Cohen A, Zumsteg D, Friedman A.

J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2008.

10.Opening of the blood-brain barrier preceding cortical edema in a severe attack of FHM type II.

Dreier JP, Jurkat-Rott K, Petzold GC, Tomkins O, Klingebiel R, Kopp UA, Lehmann-Horn F, Friedman A, Dichgans M. Neurology. 2005.

11. Focal cortical dysfunction and blood-brain barrier disruption in patients with Postconcussion syndrome.

Korn A, Golan H, Melamed I, Pascual-Marqui R, Friedman A. J Clin Neurophysiol. 2005.

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