News and Events

VASCage plans new prevention study among 1,000 healthy Tyrolean adults
Stroke is the second leading cause of death, with more than six million deaths annually worldwide, and the leading cause of permanent disability in adults. One in four people will suffer a stroke at some point in their lives, although most strokes could be prevented. Prevention is therefore the focus of this year's World Stroke Day on 29 October and also one of the most important research areas at the VASCage. So far, the main focus of VASCage prevention research has been on children and adolescents. Now a comprehensive study on a representative group of 1,000 randomly selected Tyrolean adults is also to take place.

The largest study on the smallest lesions - VASCage researcher investigates the epidemiology of small acute brain infarcts on MRI
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in the elderly. Common symptoms of stroke include acute problems with speech or vision, or numbness of an arm or leg, most often caused by a larger brain infarct. In contrast, small acute brain infarcts often are not noticeable - they occur silently and secretly. Yet they may be neither rare nor harmless. On the contrary: research data suggest that these tiny brain infarcts, only a few millimeters in size, are common in old age. Furthermore, individuals with small acute brain infarcts may have an increased risk of a "real" stroke or dementia. However, it is still largely unclear in which groups of people these "mini-infarcts" are most likely to occur and what significance they actually have for health. 

PhD student Sophia Mair wins prestigious DOC fellowship  – a strong boost for her scientific career. Currently she is conducting her VASCage research in Canada.

VASCage PhD student Sophia Mair is awarded a Doctoral Fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (DOC) that now further supports her research for the next two years. In her research, she is looking for new ways to treat calcifying aortic valve disease. More specifically, she wants to find the trigger that causes heart valve cells to turn into bone-forming cells. This inflammatory process leads to calcification of the aortic valves and, without surgical treatment, eventually to death. Sophia Mair's research is supervised by Dr Can Gollmann-Tepeköylü and Prof Johannes Holfeld at the Medical University of Innsbruck.

VASCage project ACTpatient: Mild stroke – difficult life afterwards

Surprising results are delivered by a scientific pilot project, which was carried out by stroke patients themselves: What the medical classification only defines as a "light" stroke is perceived by many patients as a quite severe limitation in their daily life.

As part of the VASCage research project ACTpatient, stroke patients and their relatives designed questionnaires on the topics of aftercare and clinical research. They then provided these to 75 other patients. These were people who had suffered a stroke a year ago and whose condition was assessed as good, i.e. only slightly limited, according to the usual medical classification. The results of the survey are now available. They show that many of those affected and their families feel a heavy burden.

Important VASCage publication in Lancet Group journal EBioMedicine on pulse wave velocity measurement as cardiovascular risk predictor

Arterial stiffening is paramount to vascular ageing and is associated with atherosclerosis, vascular calcification and inflammation. A worldwide team around Raimund Pechlaner from Medical University Innsbruck, the Third Xiangya Hospital, Stefan Kiechl and Sophia Kiechl from VASCage determined new reference values for pulse wave velocity measurement (PWV) as cardiovascular risk predictor. Measurements of brachial-ankle or carotid-femoral PWV (baPWV or cfPWV) in 509,743 generally healthy participants from 34 countries were included. The study provides global and regional age- and sex-dependent distributions and reference values of baPWV and cfPWV, which may aid increased clinical use of PWV as a measure of vascular ageing, predictor of hypertensive end-organ damage, cardiovascular disease, and death.


VASCage Clinical Trials is ISO certified!

After many months of hard work and a rigourous evaluation and auditing process, we are very happy to announce that VASCage Clinical Trials has been successfully ISO 9001 certified. Quality Austria has issued an IQNET


Further 18 million euros for research on vascular ageing and stroke

The VASCage research centre in Innsbruck has received research funding for another four years. An international jury has analysed the past successes and future plans and unanimously recommended further funding. The quality of the research projects was rated as outstanding.

Link to press release (in German)
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VASCage is funded within the COMET programme by the Federal Ministries

VASCage publication in high-ranking journal „Artificial Intelligence in Medicine“: deep learning for MRI brain image analysis

MRI brain image analysis is of great significance for brain disease diagnosis, progression assessment, and monitoring of neurological conditions. Segmentation is a crucial process to determine volume, boundaries and morphology of specific brain structures in medical imaging. Manual segmentation however is time-consuming, laborious, and subjective, which significantly amplifies the need for automated processes. Now VASCage researcher Nadja Gruber, Malik Galijasevic (Medical University of Innsbruck, Dept. of Neuroradiology) and co-authors present an efficient deep learning approach for the automated segmentation of brain tissue in the high-ranking journal „Artificial Intelligence in Medicine“.

VASCage at ESOC2022: Epidemiology, Manifestions and Prognosis of acute covert brain infarctions

During an ischemic stroke a patient suffers from acute neurological symptoms due to an infarct in the brain. From time to time, however, clinicians encounter small brain infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that are very recent but did not cause any clear clinical symptoms.
In her presentation at ESOC in Lyon on 5 May 2022, VASCage researcher Annemieke ter Telgte discussed the epidemiology, clinical manifestations and prognosis of such acute covert brain infarcts. Data suggest that the prevalence of acute covert brain infarcts is increased at late adulthood and in persons with cerebral small vessel disease.
VASCage patient involvement in clinical studies

PRESS RELEASE: Stroke patients play an active role in shaping the research process. ACTpatient video now online.

In Austria, about 25,000 people suffer a stroke every year. But in Austria, the people affected are usually not actively involved in the planning and implementation of clinical studies. VASCage wants to change that. In the project ACTpatient, people with stroke and their relatives actively participate in the research process from the very beginning.

ACTpatient video (c) OIS
Link to press release (in German)
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Brain Awareness Week - VASCage interview series - Interview with Silvia Komarek, PhD Student at VASCage

It's brain awareness week, the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science! VASCage runs a series of interviews with some of our researchers.

Everything a person feels or does is processed through the central nervous system. Each part of the brain holds specific functions and deficits in the brain functions can mostly be localized through

Brain Awareness Week - VASCage interview series - Interview with Michael Knoflach, neurologist at VASCage and Med. Univ. Innsbruck

It's brain awareness week, the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science! VASCage runs a series of interviews with some of our researchers.

The brain is a very delicate and complex organ that we might never understand in its whole function. Even though a small damage can cause severe deficits, the brain plasticity and ability to reorganize

Brain Awareness Week - VASCage interview series - Interview with Annemieke ter Telgte, postdoc at VASCage

It's brain awareness week, the global campaign to foster public enthusiasm and support for brain science! VASCage runs a series of interviews with some of our researchers.

The brain is a highly complex organ, and we are only at the start of unravelling how the brain works. It fascinates me how billions of nerve cells and non-neuronal cells act together and bring forth

VASCage scientist Sophia Kiechl with publication success: underestimated vascular risk factors in young people

Epidemiological clinical studies on vascular health are an important field of activity for VASCage. In her research, early-career scientist Sophia Kiechl has successfully focussed on adolescents and has contributed to several publications. The recent paper „Diagnostic Yield of a Systematic Vascular Health Screening Approach in Adolescents at Schools“ in the Journal of Adolescent Health has attracted particular attention. Kiechl is the first author in a team of the Department of Neurology at the Medical Univ. of Innsbruck.
covid study VASCage

VASCage researchers find cardiometabolic microRNA biomarkers that may aid in COVID-19 severity and mortality prediction

The study was conducted by VASCage project leader Prof. Manuel Mayr and his team including first author and PhD student Dr. Clemens Gutmann, who studied and practiced medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck before joining Prof. Mayr’s group at King’s College London. In collaboration with researchers from VASCage company partner TAmiRNA GmbH in Vienna they contribute with their recent findings to fight the pandemic. They have published their results in ‘Cardiovascular Research‘, the

PRESS RELEASE: Blood vessels already suffer in youth. New VASCage publication on cardiovascular risk factors in Journal JAHA

Risk factors for heart attack and stroke such as blood and liver fat levels lead to an increase in early pathological vascular wall changes in Tyrolean adolescents. This has been shown in a representative study of Tyrolean and South Tyrolean adolescents. A recent publication by the VASCage research center and the Medical University of Innsbruck concludes that preventive care would be important not only for high-risk adolescents.
patient in ExerCube

VASCage is research partner in the European ExerGetic project. The goal is to prevent falls in geriatric patients with a whole-body videogame-based training device

Fall prevention is of utmost importance not only in stroke rehabilitation. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around 28-35% of people aged 65 years and older fall each year. Experiences of falls are considered as stressful events which can lead to drastic consequences in social interaction, daily activities, and quality of life.

VASCage science outreach: Series of high school workshops on artificial intelligence in medicine and vascular research

VASCage regularly engages in activities to promote public awareness and understanding of science, especially for high school students and their teachers. Together with the Tyrolean science outreach association ‚klasse!forschung‘ VASCage initiated a workshop series inspiring young people to develop an interest in research.

Junior researcher Nadja Gruber is mathematician and specialist for