Alzheimer's brain model: Part 1
Alzheimer's is a tricky disease. There is no outward physical change, which can frustrate family members and caregivers. There are some physical abnormalities with the brain, however, which I wanted to bring to light in a medical model. After researching what these changes were (namely, loss of white matter resulting in larger folds, and reduced brain weight) and making some initial sketches, I met with 2 ladies at the Milwaukee chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. We discussed the brain model they use currently to describe the areas of the brain affected by Alzheimer's. We identified areas that the model could be improved- for instance they were using a normal brain, not one showing Alzheimer's... so it was a bit of a no-brainer :) I asked them what they communicated to caregivers and how a model could help them in that. They were very excited to see what I would make, and I was excited to get started.
I gathered MRI data of brain scans, and reached out to the AMI community. I connected with Josh Lai who created a beautiful brain model while in graduate school at University of Toronto using 3d Slicer, and also Roy Schneider who is doing some incredible work at the University of Toledo, and was able to supply me with brain images. Then I began teaching myself 3d Slicer, and rendering out some brains. 3d Slicer has a great community of users who respond to questions quickly, and it feels like we are all working together to get images out of scans. I then pulled these models in Zbrush, and began sculpting the brain!
Next post will be about my prototype prints on 3d printers... stay tuned!