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Professorial Inaugural Lecture: Professor Clive Beggs

Leeds Beckett University

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

Professorial Inaugural Lecture: Professor Clive Beggs

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RSVP 25 Jan 2017 Free  

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About Professor Clive Beggs

Professor Clive Beggs joined the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University in 2015 as Professor of Applied Physiology. Previously he was Professor of Medical Engineering at the University of Bradford, and before that he was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds. Until recently, he also held the position of Adjunct Professor of Neurology in the medical school at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York.

Holding two PhDs, Clive is both a bioengineer and a physiologist.  He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, of the Royal Society of Biology and of the Royal Society of Medicine.  He is also a member of The Physiological Society.  He specialises in interdisciplinary research using computational techniques (numerical and statistical modelling) to interpret complex physiological and clinical systems. Over the years, he has collaborated with many clinical partners around the world, initially working in infection control and latterly in neurology, where his work has focused on neurovascular haemodynamics and its role in neurological disease.

Working with clinical partners in the USA, Italy and Taiwan, Clive has pioneered research on fluid mechanics associated with neurological disease, and has been able to show that diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) are associated with profound alterations in the dynamics of the cerebrospinal fluid system (CFS). Furthermore, he and his clinical partners have demonstrated that these changes are closely coupled with changes in the venous system, suggesting that the pathophysiology of neurological diseases such as MS and normal pressure hydrocephalus may have a vascular component that has hitherto been largely unrecognised. The role of veins in MS has become highly controversial, but through his work, Clive has sought to build an evidence base in order to bring clarity to this contentious subject.

With a lifelong interest in sport and exercise, Clive now enjoys applying his physiological and systems analysis expertise to his work within the University’s Carnegie School of Sport while continuing to conduct research with his clinical partners overseas.


Are we missing a trick? The role of vascular biomechanics in the pathophysiology of neurological disease

In 2009, Professor Paolo Zamboni, of the University of Ferrara, Italy, published a clinical paper [1] which was to divide the MS community (both patients and professionals) like none before it. In it, Professor Zamboni claimed that MS was associated with abnormalities of the jugular veins, which he termed chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). In a very short time, CCSVI became the single most controversial subject in MS research, with numerous studies (both for and against) published with the aim of confirming or disproving Professor Zamboni's findings. The controversy was further intensified by claims by others that the opening up of blocked veins in the neck could “cure” MS – claims that with hindsight now appear somewhat simplistic. Nevertheless, since Professor Zamboni first pioneered his “liberation” procedure [2], many thousands of MS patients worldwide have undergone venous angioplasty.  Although the results have been mixed, many patients have claimed improvements in their symptoms as a result, and there is physiological evidence that the procedure alters CSF dynamics in the brain, which may be beneficial to patients [3].

Being a physiologist with a knowledge of fluid dynamics, Clive became interested in Professor Zamboni's findings and pioneered a programme of work designed to understand how anomalies in the extracranial vascular system might influence the pathophysiology of neurological disease. Working with his clinical partners who are based overseas, he has been able to explain the biomechanics of the intracranial space and show that the dynamics of the CSF is strongly influenced by the cerebral venous drainage system. Furthermore, together with his co-workers he 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. As such, Clive's work suggests that vascular anomalies can profoundly alter the biomechanics of the intracranial space, something other researchers have independently confirmed [4,5].

In his lecture Clive will present his findings and discuss their implications with regard the progression of neurological disease. In doing so, he will explain the key role that fluid dynamics (both blood and CSF) plays in maintaining neurological health – an important subject that has largely been overlooked by the neurological research community.


1. Zamboni P, et al. The severity of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis is related to altered cerebrospinal fluid dynamics. Functional Neurology. 2009, 24: 133–38

2. Zamboni P, et al. A prospective open-label study of endovascular treatment of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2009. 50: 1348-1358

3. Zivadinov R, et al. Changes of cine cerebrospinal fluid dynamics in patients with multiple sclerosis treated with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty: case-control study. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology. 2013, 24: 829-38

4. Bateman GA, et al. A comparison between the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis and normal pressure hydrocephalus: is pulse wave encephalopathy a component of MS? Fluids Barriers of the CNS. 2016. 22;13(1):18

5. Hatt A, et al. Can Be Used to Measure Brain Stiffness Changes as a Result of Altered Cranial Venous Drainage During Jugular Compression. American Journal of Neuroradiology. 2015. 36:1971-1977


Date: Wednesday 25 January 2017
Time: 18:00 - 19:00 (arrival from 17:30)
Venue: Rose Bowl, City Campus

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When & Where

Rose Bowl
99 Portland Crescent
LS1 3HJ Leeds
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 from 18:00 to 19:00 (GMT)

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Professorial Inaugural Lecture: Professor Clive Beggs
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