The contribution of Ukrainian mathematicians to overcoming the disease

Horizon 2020 is the EU funding programme for research and innovation with a €80 billion budget. The program is open to all research, educational organizations and business representatives from all over the world.

If you think that medicine is only biology and chemistry, then you have a chance to learn how mathematics influences medical technology and quality of our life. Virtually no invention can do without accurate calculations. However, mathematicians say that they do not invent anything new.

But this is not the case. It is mathematicians who calculate what should be the allowable dose of pesticides and herbicides for soil or how much protein should rice and corn contain in terms of usefulness to humans.

And what is more, mathematics is in the service of medicine. Our story is about how Ukrainian mathematicians, together with German, Austrian and Italian colleagues, help physicians calculate a decrease in blood sugar levels at night for a diabetic patient. And calculate the shape of the heart valve so that it functions correctly after surgery.

400,000 euros under the European Union (EU) programme were granted to the Institute of Mathematics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, the Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute (KPI). The project called AMMODIT was launched in 2016 and will end in 2020.

Getting such a grant was made possible within the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever – Horizon 2020. And thanks to this, Ukrainian mathematicians, together with their European colleagues, have already invented a device for determining the level of hypoglycemia (a condition when the level of glucose in the blood decreases. — author’s note). The fact is that blood sugar level can unpredictably and sharply drop in diabetic patients at night. Such conditions are especially dangerous for children, because they do not understand what is happening to them. A new device helps to monitor the involuntary decrease in sugar level.


Blood sugar level depends on the diet of a person, his motor and intellectual activity, the ability of the pancreas to produce insulin. Therefore, Austrian mathematicians have developed an algorithm that evaluates the patient’s lifestyle: physical exertions, stresses, case history, complaints. And the colleagues from KPI have developed on its basis a mobile application so that patients can monitor their blood sugar level.

Now a team of Ukrainian mathematicians helps hospital surgeons in Milan to perform heart surgeries in patients with mitral valve prolapse. MVP is a pathology when the heart does not receive the required amount of blood due to the anatomical structure of the valve. Therefore, MVP often leads to heart failure.

Such anatomical dysfunctions can only be changed mechanically – through surgery. To do this, the doctor needs to know how long the chordae (connective tissue. – author’s note)  should be, whether it need to be sewed to and in exactly what place. All this is calculated by mathematicians, taking into account the geometry, the shape of the vessels and the heart of the patient, so that doctors can make the right decisions.

“Mathematics is a way of thinking that allows you to accurately predict and give answers to a variety of questions – in sociology, chemistry, biology, and so on. Mathematics tests models, calls them into question and helps make the right decisions. That is why it is so necessary for medicine, where decisions are directly related to people’s lives,” Oleksandra Antoniuk, Dr. Sci. in Physics and Mathematics and Deputy Director for Scientific Work at the Institute of Mathematics, says.

It is mathematical models that improve the quality of medical decisions. And the methods used are becoming more accessible to Ukrainian patients.

“Science is developing in communication. Imagine that you and I have one apple each. We exchanged and still have one apple each. But if you have an idea and I have one, then together we already have two ideas. Or maybe even three, because together we will come up with something new,” Oleksandra Antoniuk explains the benefits of scientific exchanges.

Development of science is important for any state. In the USA, they say that they are investing in science, not because they are rich, but they are rich, because they invest in science.

“Imagine: if you have no disk drive, you will not be able to read the information from the disk. The same thing happens in science. If there is an idea, but there is no one who can understand it and do something so that you can use it, then such a product simply does not exist for you,” Oleksandra continues.

Oleksandra Antoniuk herself lived and worked in Germany for three years. The scientist says that the country is investing large sums to invite researchers from all over the world. It is believed that the more a university has international contacts, the better the results it produces.

Each scientific conference helps to keep abreast of world trends and developments. For Ukrainian scientists, the participation in conferences is an opportunity to be in the focus of world research and exchange experience.


Source – Segodnya (print version)