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Research project

BEAT-IT study

The BEhavioral symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease, Towards early Identification and Treatment (BEAT-IT) study focuses on the assessment and management of neuropsychiatric symptoms in early Alzheimer’s disease. This four-year ZonMw project is a collaboration between the Alzheimer Centers of the Erasmus MC and the Amsterdam UMC. Our research group consists of clinicians and researchers with a background in neurology, neuropsychology, and psychiatry.

What we do

About our project

Almost all patients with Alzheimer’s disease experience neuropsychiatric symptoms including apathy, agitation, depression, and psychosis. These symptoms have a negative impact on quality of life, caregiver burden, and disease progression. Despite the high prevalence and clinical relevance of neuropsychiatric symptoms, these symptoms are currently underrecognized and thereby undertreated in memory clinics. This is clearly a missed opportunity since there is growing evidence for the efficacy of psychosocial and pharmacological interventions to reduce neuropsychiatric symptoms and improve the quality of life in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the aim?

With the BEAT-IT study, we aim to improve the early detection and adequate treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer’s disease. We will obtain more insight in how neuropsychiatric symptoms are described (its nomenclature) by clinicians working at the memory clinic and whether there is an underrecognition of these symptoms. In addition, we aim to enhance our knowledge and skills concerning the (non)pharmacological treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease. 

How do we perform this research?

To study the (under)recognition and nomenclature of neuropsychiatric symptoms, we examine a large amount of patient charts of >3000 patients with Alzheimer’s disease that have visited the memory clinic by the use of innovative machine learning techniques. 
Furthermore, we are conducting an intervention study to investigate the effects of standardizing and structuring the assessment and management of neuropsychiatric symptoms to improve the quality of life of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. 

What is the desirable outcome?

We will enhance awareness among clinicians that neuropsychiatric symptoms can be present in early Alzheimer’s disease and provide guidelines on the treatment of these symptoms in the context of the memory clinic. 

Funds & Grants

Alzheimer Nederland and Memorabel ZonMw (Deltaplan Dementie)


Department of Neurology

Department of Geriatrics 

Department of Psychiatry

Department of Bioinformatics

Outside Erasmus MC

Alzheimer Center Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centers , Dr. Rik Ossenkoppele, https://www.alzheimercentrum.nl/

Afdeling Neurologie, Fransiscus Gasthuis & Vlietland, Dr. Tom den Heijer en Jan Driesen, https://www.franciscus.nl/specialisme/neurologie 

Afdeling Neurologie, het Van Weel-Bethesda Ziekenhuis, Lilian Vroegindeweij, https://www.vanweelbethesda.nl/ikkomvooreenbehandeling/specialismen/neurologie

Afdeling Neurologie, Maasstad Ziekenhuis, Elsbeth Tomeer, https://www.maasstadziekenhuis.nl/specialismen-afdelingen/neurologie/

Afdeling Neurologie, Spijkenisse Medisch Centerum, Susanne Hoogers, https://www.spijkenissemc.nl/specialisme/neurologie


Neuropsychiatric symptoms complicating the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: A case report

Our team

Contact us via email

Willem Eikelboom, MSc

Dr. Janne Papma

Dr. Esther van den Berg

Dr. Michiel Coesmans

Prof.dr. John van Swieten

Principal Investigators

Phd Students