Research Themes Alzheimers disease Resilience in aging and cognitive decline

About this line of research

In older persons loss of resilience is pivotal, directly related to acute, highly prevalent health problems like behavioural problems, delirium, acute functional loss, and loss of wellbeing. This research line focuses on the improvement of understanding of resilience as well as on wellbeing.

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About this line of research

The concept of resilience, encompassing resistance to perturbations of equilibrium states and recovery potential to a new equilibrium state, has been elaborately applied in physics (e.g. solid matter physics) and psychology (e.g. post traumatic stress recovery potential). In medicine, both on the individual and community level, the construct of resilience has theoretically only been used for constructing static instruments (i.e. questionnaires) for risk assessment of (insufficient) recovery following psychosocial stressors. Recently, a working group of the National Institute on Aging underlined the relevance of improved understanding of resilience in medical sciences, and advocated a more dynamical approach of acquiring empirical data (i.e. time series based with or without an artificial perturbation) on resilience in aging (Hadley EC et al. Resilience Report.JGerontolMed Sci2017;72:980).

For our research we want to extend this to studying resilience both on an organ (e.g. in brain function) and person-level (for functional capacity and well-being).

Research questions we will address are;
  1. How can time series of dynamic equilibrium, and natural or artificial perturbations, be applied to model systemic resilience in the aging individual to improve understanding of the reactions to their most common threads, and improve resilience by focused interventions?
  2. How can we construct dynamic indicators of (sub)system resilience in man, to be used as early warning signals for shifts in system function?
  3. How can the omnipresent multimorbidity, which is highly associated with aging, best be modeled in the network of aging physiological to understand robustness and resilience in multimorbidity?


Contact

Marcel Olde Rikkert MD PhD

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Research group leaders


International collaborators

  • Prof Heather Whitson, geriatrician, Duke University, Durham, NC,USA
  • Prof Chris Calahan, geriatrician, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, In, USA
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International collaborators

International collaborators
  • Prof Heather Whitson, geriatrician, Duke University, Durham, NC,USA
  • Prof Chris Calahan, geriatrician, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis, In, USA
  • Prof John Gladman, geriatrician, Nottingham University, UK
  • Dr Daniel Davis, geriatrician, senior epidemiologist, UCL London, UK
  • Prof Marten Scheffer, bioloog, WUR, Netherlands
  • Prof Alfons Hoekstra, Computation modeling scientist, UvA, Netherlands