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Research project

Imaging biomarkers for early diagnosis (BEYOND)

Status: Ongoing project

We will develop and clinically evaluate a platform that enables using quantitative neuroimaging in daily clinical practice to improve the diagnosis of dementia.

What we do

About our project

Dementia diagnosis

Approximately 11 million people in Europe suffer from dementia, and this number is expected to at least double by 2050. Early and accurate identification of dementia’s underlying causes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy Body dementia or vascular dementia is of utmost importance for supporting preventive strategies, and for proper and tailored patient management. Recent research showed that imaging techniques are among the most promising technologies to improve subclinical, early and differential dementia diagnosis.

Quantitative neuroimaging

However, especially early in the disease process changes in the brain are subtle. Therefore, tools are needed to support the accurate, objective, quantitative interpretation of MR brain imaging data. Since these are currently largely lacking, the main aim of BEYOND is to develop and validate tools to achieve the full potential of quantitative neuroimaging in research and daily clinical practice. 


Our research focus

Prototype workstation

In collaboration with Quantib BV, a clinical prototype workstation was installed at Erasmus MC. Using this workstation the following imaging biomarkers can be quantified for patients undergoing imaging at the Alzheimer Center Erasmus MC: grey matter volume and atrophy, white matter volume and atrophy, and white matter lesion volume and location. These values can be compared to reference data derived from a unique large population study (The Rotterdam Study) to support their objective interpretation.

Clinical evaluation

Currently, we are performing a qualitative evaluation of the prototype workstation in clinical practice. This entails a retrospective study of well-defined patients to assess diagnostic accuracy, and a prospective study for usability and diagnostic confidence in routine clinical practice. In addition, we are working on improving the prototype by integrating quantitative biomarkers from multimodal imaging.


Funds & Grants

WJ Niessen, Imaging Biomarkers for Early Diagnosis of Neurodegenerative Disease (BEYOND), TKI-LSH PPP-allowance Health Holland Alzheimer Nederland, 2017


Outside Erasmus MC

Quantib BV

Our team

Wiro Niessen

Henri Vrooman

Rebecca Steketee

Esther Bron

Meike Vernooij