Alzheimer’s disease About theme

At present, the heterogeneity in the etiology, clinical presentation and progression of the most common form of dementia - Alzheimer’s disease - remains largely unrecognized. Our mission is to have a significant impact on the personalization of dementia care by addressing these knowledge gaps.

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Alzheimer’s disease About theme

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia worldwide. The number of people with dementia in the Netherlands will greatly increase over the next years, due to the ageing of our society. Seventy percent of patients live at home, supported by informal caregivers. Fifty percent of these caregivers work and care for their own children. More than any other disease, dementia negatively affects the lives and health not only of these patients but also of these caregivers.

Years of intensive research have left us without an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Much of this research has been limited to monogenetic disease models that reflect the rare (<1%) familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease, with age of onset under 65 years. Treatments that have been developed on the basis of these models have repeatedly failed to show benefits in the common (>99%) form of Alzheimer’s disease, with age of onset over 65 years.

At present, the heterogeneity in the etiology, clinical presentation and progression of this common form of Alzheimer’s disease remains largely unrecognized. Our mission is to have a significant impact on the personalization of dementia care by addressing these knowledge gaps.

Objectives

  • With translational research from mouse models and animal imaging to human research we will study factors that have a significant impact on the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These factors include sleep deprivation, vascular disease, physical exercise and nutrition.
  • We aim to identify factors, such as multimorbidity, that are associated with fast and more benign disease progression and explain individual heterogeneity in disease progression. Behavioral problems have a strong negative impact on prognosis, quality of life and caregiver burden. We will improve early detection of these symptoms.
  • We will develop personalized care for patients with dementia under 65 years of age.
  • Driven by a social demand for earlier diagnosis, we will critically evaluate and improve diagnostic biomarkers, including cerebrospinal fluid and neuro-imaging.
  • We will develop individualized care pathways in our memory clinic and in primary and long-term care settings, and we will initiate palliative care studies at all disease stages.
  • We aim to improve support for caregivers by developing personalized psychosocial interventions and e-health tools.

Theme leader

Jurgen Claassen MD PhD
associate professor

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Lines of research


Resilience in aging and cognitive decline

This research line focuses on the improvement of understanding of resilience as well as on wellbeing of elderly people.

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Cerebral circulation and cognition

In this research line there is a multidisciplinary approach to study consequences of (cerebro)vascular disorders on neurodegeneration for hypertension, obesity and stroke.

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Cardiovascular and cerebro­vascular physiology

This line of research investigates the regulation of blood pressure and cerebral blood flow in aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Long-term dementia care

This line of research focuses on the long-term course of late and young onset dementia in patients that are community-dwelling or are institutionalized.

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Researchers Alzheimer’s disease

A list of researchers connected to this theme.

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Our research Alzheimer's disease

Discover some of our research connected to this research theme.

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Plasticity and Memory Theme Donders

The Alzheimer’s disease theme is closely integrated with the Donders Institute's theme Memory and Plasticity.

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Research group leaders

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