News items Edo Richard appointed professor of dementia, with a focus on prevention

30 May 2024

Neurologist Edo Richard has been appointed Professor of Dementia, with a focus on prevention, at Radboud university medical center / Radboud University. Through large intervention studies, he aims to investigate whether treating dementia risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unhealthy lifestyle can lead to a reduction in dementia.

Edo Richard describes his research on dementia prevention as a long-term endeavor. 'If we want to know how to prevent dementia, we first need to determine how and why dementia develops. Some risk factors are already known, such as an unhealthy lifestyle and high blood pressure. However, not everything has been conclusively proven to have a causal link. Therefore, we need to investigate whether we can prevent dementia by eliminating these risk factors.'

Personal Approach

In large intervention studies, Richard examines whether digital tools, such as a smartphone app, can support lifestyle changes. 'We now know that people with a migration background or a lower socioeconomic status are at a higher risk of developing dementia. At the same time, this is a group that is hard to reach with current prevention advice. Their access to healthcare is often limited. We specifically want to investigate whether we can reduce their risk.'

Richard's research among people from England and China showed that once individuals participate, they actively engage: once over that threshold, it is possible to work actively on their lifestyle with a coach. Lifestyle changes require a personal approach, according to Richard. In a current study, he is developing an app with lifestyle advice, personal goals, and an individual lifestyle coach. This coach provides participants with tips and motivates them to pursue their goals. 'In this study, we pay specific attention to participants' backgrounds, including dietary preferences and potential language barriers.'

Moral Questions

Research focused on dementia risk factors also raises new questions, Richard explains. 'As we determine who is at increased risk, the line between who merely has an increased risk and who is in the early stages of a disease gradually blurs, especially when using biological markers for disease. At this interface, I also research the ethical and moral aspects of prevention and early diagnosis. Here, the central question is when something actually becomes a disease.'


Edo Richard studied Medicine at the University of Amsterdam. He earned his PhD researching vascular components of dementia, specifically looking at prevention and pathology (thesis: Vascular factors in dementia – prevention and pathology). After specializing as a neurologist, he worked for six months at Columbia University in New York and several years at Amsterdam UMC. In 2014, he started as a neurologist at Radboud university medical center, while simultaneously maintaining a position in Amsterdam. Since 2021, he has been a special professor of Neurology focusing on the vascular component of dementia from a population perspective at the Department of Public Health at Amsterdam UMC one day a week. His appointment as a professor at Radboudumc will begin on May 1, 2024, for a period of five years.

Find out more about Edo Richard's research in this Radbode #1 2024 article.


More information

Pauline Dekhuijzen

wetenschaps- en persvoorlichter

Related news items