LSU Health Shreveport, LSUS Use AI to Treat Cavernous Malformations

September 20, 2022

Improving Care For Brain Tumors

Cavernous malformations are vascular tumors in the brain or spinal cord. Although “benign” as opposed to cancerous, these blood vessel lesions can still cause serious health problems, such as epilepsy, stroke, and blindness, as well as issues with movement, numbness, and tingling throughout the body. This is primarily because cavernous malformations tend to burst or bleed, which can impact nearby tissues in spontaneous and seemingly inexplicable ways until the tumors are diagnosed. Most cavernous malformations are not found until they start causing problems, but once known, doctors and patients are faced with the difficult decision of whether to operate, radiate, medicate, or leave them be.

“Medicine in general is considerably complex and neurosurgery is extremely complex, with cavernous malformations among the most difficult to manage,” said Dr. Caleb Stewart, neurosurgeon at LSU Health Shreveport. “It’s also one of the most understudied problems in neurosurgery because every malformation presents as an apples-and-oranges problem—each one appears unique, so it’s difficult to compare, plan procedures and make decisions on the best course of action in these inherently high-risk areas, such as deep into the brain.”

LSU Health Shreveport, LSU Shreveport, Ochsner Health, and collaborators in Australia are now leveraging big data science and artificial intelligence, or AI, to solve this challenge and improve care for patients.

AI-generated image of an alien brain

Artificial intelligence, or AI, can provide new insights into the human brain. LSU researchers are using AI to learn more about cavernous malformations, which are leaky tumors in high-risk areas where they can cause seemingly inexplicable problems until the tumors are properly diagnosed. The image above was generated by AI based on keywords: robot looking into brain hole.


“The deployment and validation of novel tools in healthcare, such as machine learning and AI, 3D printing, and virtual reality, require collaborations like the ones between LSU and Ochsner. These initiatives will greatly benefit Louisiana, where our population unfortunately carries a large disease burden, particularly in cerebrovascular disease.”

Dr. Korak Sarkar, medical director of the m3D Lab at Ochsner Health in New Orleans