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Seven grants for dementia studies

Erasmus MC dementia researchers have been awarded seven separate grants to study various aspects of this group of brain diseases.

Dementie oude handen horloge

Plenty of research
The total amount being awarded to Erasmus MC is exceptionally large, namely about €6 million. The series of grants was awarded by ZonMw ((The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development), on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) as part of the Deltaplan Dementie (Dementia Delta Plan). There is no cure for dementia yet, but a lot of research is being conducted both nationally and internationally, as well as in Rotterdam.

Dr. Janne Papma, coordinator of Alzheimer Center Rotterdam, says "We are very pleased with the support we are getting. The focus of our research includes the underlying mechanisms of the diseases, identifying leads for new drugs, but also improving diagnostics.  The grants will enable us to continue and even expand our research."

Role of intestinal flora
According to Pampa, new studies include: the role of intestinal flora in the onset and prevention of dementia, and improving the diagnosis of dementia in migrants. She emphasizes that the studies are not independent of each other, but form a whole.

Amsterdam, Groningen
For some of the projects the Rotterdam researchers will need to share the awarded amounts with colleagues from Amsterdam (VUmc), Groningen (UMCG) and Nijmegen (Radboudumc). The grants are part of the ZonMw research program Memorabel.

Deltaplan DementieThe studies
A list of the studies awarded a grant, including the name of the researcher, the title and the amount received is shown below:

* Dr. Janne Papma, 'Intercultural dementia diagnostics and care in the memory clinic', € 420,000.
* Dr. Janne Papma, 'The diagnostic challenge of neuropsychiatric symptoms in Alzheimer's disease', € 830,000, in collaboration with VUmc.
* Prof. Cock van Duijn, 'Understanding the role of the gut microbiome in the pathogenesis and prevention of dementia', € 1.4 million, in collaboration with VUmc.
* Prof. John van Swieten, 'Searching for somatic de novo mutations in semantic dementia', € 880,000.
* Prof. John van Swieten, 'Neuroimaging and fluid biomarkers predicting conversion and disease progression in mutation carriers of genetic frontotemporal dementia', € 860,000.
* Dr. Meike Vernooij, 'Amyloid pathology and vascular disease in focus: exploring interaction in two pathways towards neurodegeneration', € 900,000.
* Dr. Meike Vernooij, Prof. Arfan Ikram, 'Social factors in cognitive decline, towards an early intervention approach', € 750,000, together with UMCG and Radboudumc.

Also see the BRIDGET study: Prof. Arfan Ikram: "I am convinced that in a number of years we will be able to prevent two thirds of dementia cases".

Date published: 1 August 2017.

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