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Academic presents his research findings into neurological diseases at inaugural lecture


A Leeds Beckett University academic who has pioneered research on fluid mechanics associated with neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s, has delivered his inaugural lecture as Professor of Applied Physiology.

Clive Beggs, who is also Visiting Professor of Neurology in the medical school at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, has been able to show through his research that diseases like MS are associated with alterations in the dynamics of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) system.

He presented his findings at his inaugural lecture at Leeds Beckett’s city centre Rose Bowl building on Wednesday 25 January.


Working with clinical partners who are based overseas, he has gained new insights into the biomechanics of the intracranial space and has been able to show that the dynamics of the CSF system are strongly influenced by the cerebral venous drainage system.

Together with co-workers, Professor Beggs has been able to show that MS is associated with changes in the dynamics of the CSF pulse in the cranium, and that the normal relationship between this and the jugular veins is profoundly altered in MS patients. He has also found that venous drainage anomalies in patients with Alzheimer's disease are associated with blood retention in the cerebral veins, suggesting that constricted venous outflow might be a generic phenomenon implicated in the pathophysiology of other neurological diseases.

Professor Beggs said: “My work suggests that vascular anomalies can profoundly alter the biomechanics of the intracranial space. This is important because there is a growing body of evidence that altered haemodynamics in the cranium are associated with a wide range of neurological conditions.

“In my lecture I discussed the link between altered fluid dynamics in the cranium and neurological disease. Using examples from my own research I showed how cerebral venous outflow plays an influential role in regulating the behaviour of the intracranial CSF system, something that appears to be important in the pathophysiology of several neurological conditions.”

As well as his work into MS, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular changes associated with ageing, Professor Beggs’s other research interests lie in the use of mathematical/computer models to interpret complex systems, ranging from hospital epidemiology to talent identification in young rugby players.

Professor Beggs holds PhDs in two disciplines and is a member of the Physiological Society, and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; the Society of Biology; and the Royal Society of Medicine. He works at the interface between medicine and applied mathematics and specialises in the use of advanced statistical and numerical modelling techniques to interpret complex physiological and clinical systems.

Prior to joining Leeds Beckett University, he was Professor of Medical Engineering at the University of Bradford from 2005-2015, and before that Senior Lecturer in Aerobiological Engineering at the University of Leeds from 1996-2005.

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