A large part of the research at the section is clinically oriented with a strong connection to the geriatric clinic at the Karolinska University Hospital, Huddinge. The major part of the research focuses on patients with cognitive impairment and dementia, but we also have several studies related to Parkinson disease and Stroke.
The purpose of this science project is to increase our knowledge regarding the pathological mechanisms associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia and to evaluate how different, currently used treatment options, affect the presence of certain proteins in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Through analysis of different biomarkers, neurotransmitters and metabolites in CSF before and after treatment in patients with dementia and neuropsychiatric symptom we hope to increase our understanding of the pathogenesis of these symptoms which could in consequence result in development of more effective treatment strategies.
Senior consultant in Geriatric Medicine since -90. President of the Swedish Society of Geriatric Medicine 2005-2010 and now since 2013. Full board member of EUGMS.Defended the thesis “Frail old patients partipation in medical decision making” in 2012 (dissertation) which revealed a care in hospital not adapted to frail old patients and there needs.Since 2010 project leader of the “Age-FIT”-trial (Ambulatory Geriatric Frailty Intervention Trial). Clinical Trials nr NCT01446757. https://register.clinicaltrials.gov/. where main focus is the effects of Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment on outcomes such as health economy and frailty.Co-worker in the “DEMA-project” studying the effects of different types of anaesthesia on the development of dementia of Alzheimer type.
In Sweden today there are 150,000 people with various forms of dementia, of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common. Maria Eriksdotter has extensive clinical experience of patients with memory disorders and dementia. Her research involves improving care and treatment of dementia patients, especially those suffering from Alzheimer's disease and focus on two research areas:
1. Cell therapy with nerve growth factor (NGF) in Alzheimer's disease patients.
Using encapsulated cell biodelivery, cells which release NGF are placed using stereotactic neurosurgery in the basal forebrain in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The hypothes is that NGF will prevent degradation of nerve cells and thereby inhibit disease progression. We have shown that the method is safe and well tolerated and further studies are ongoing, ie effects on cholinergic markers. Studies aiming at screening for compunds that act in a neurotrophic manner have recently started.
2. Studies on the world's largest quality registry of dementia, SveDem.
SveDem was developed by Maria Eriksdotter and colleagues with the aim of improving dementia care in Sweden. Incident patients with dementia are followed over time. Studies on the role of dementia work-up, drug treatment and mortality are ongoing as well as collaborative efforts with other quality registries, such as the heart failure registry.
Title of project:
Nerve growth factor in Alzheimer’s disease: biological effects and therapeutic potential
The loss of memory in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has been associated with central cholinergic dysfunction and neurodegenerative changes in the basal forebrain, where the cholinergic circuitry projects to the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. The neurotrophin nerve growth factor (NGF) has well known survival enhancing effects on basal forebrain cholinergic neurons in animals. Local delivery of NGF has emerged as a potential therapy in AD due to its regenerative effects on the cholinergic neurons. Our research group has developed a cell therapy technique with encapsulated NGF releasing cells implanted to the basal forebrain aiming to halt the cholinergic neurons degeneration. We have shown that the method is safe and well tolerated.
The primary aim of the PhD project is to investigate if treatment with NGF has a therapeutic potential in AD. A secondary aim is to investigate the biological properties of NGF and other neurotrophins in AD and MCI patients and put the results in context with clinical characteristics.
I am a medical doctor graduated also from master of public health and master of medical education programs in Tehran, Iran. Having interests in clinical neuroscience and epidemiology, I registered as a doctoral student at Karolinska Institutet, department of neurobiology, care sciences and society (NVS), Stockholm, Sweden in October 2011. I defended my PhD thesis in June 2015 and started a postdoctoral research career since July 2015 at the division of Clinical Geriatrics, NVS department, Karolinska Institutet. My main research field is neurodegenerative disorders namely Parkinson’s disease (PD), dementia with Lewy body (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Medicine (MD), Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (2009)
Public Health (MPH), Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (2010)
Medical Education (MSc), Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran (2013)
PhD student in Clinical Neuroscience and Neuroepidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden (2011-2015)
The main focus of my current research projects is on neuroepidemiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD), two major neurodegenerative disorders in the elderly. Multivariate models, discriminant and longitudinal data analysis, and other biostatistical procedures are used on large databases to explore the factors affecting disease occurrence, progression, quality of life and cognitive decline in neurodegenerative disorders such as PD, DLB and AD. Specifically in PD, I am also interested in new ideas and approaches towards a more efficient management strategy.
Currently, I am registered as a postdoctoral researcher at the division of clinical geriatrics, NVS department working under the supervision of Professor Maria Eriksdotter, Professor Johan Lökk and Professor Gunilla Sandborgh Englund. I also work as researcher in Swedish Dementia Registry (SveDem).
- Longitudinal trend of cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia such as Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy body (DLB) using SveDem database
- Dental and oral health in patients with different types of dementia
- Cognitive reserve theory in Parkinson’s disease
- Application of technology-based continuous quantified data of different symptoms and features in Parkinson’s disease for a more efficient management strategy
I am pharmacist/ PhD student passionate about pharmacology and the complexity of the brain. Following the completion of my university studies in pharmacy at Uppsala University, I gained further experience in Alzheimer´s disease (AD) research at Novum Science Park.I appreciated the challenges of research and new discoveries in drug treatment for AD. In order to pursue my strong interest at the basic science level, I worked as a research assistant for one year. This experience ultimately inspired me to become a doctoral student in the clinical geriatrics at Karolinska Institutet, a research laboratory internationally known for leading-edge research on AD.
My project; To characterize and evaluate the feasibility of ChAT and the ratio of AChE/BChE as early and longitudinal therapeutic biomarkers of AD drug therapies targeting the cholinergic system.
We have recently proved that choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) is present in both plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and we have also invented a unique, simple, non-radioactive and highly sensitive fluorometric/colorimetric assay of ChAT activity together with a sensitive ELISA assay for determining ChAT protein levels. This assay will be a useful tool to investigate short- and long-term effects of drugs aimed at the central cholinergic system.
The main focus of my research is on neurodegenerative diseases with cognitive disorders and Parkinson´s disease (PD) where I supervise two PhD students as main supervisor and three as co-supervisor. The research is about epidemiology, nutritional factors, cognition, QoL, stigma in PD, and the mutuality aspects in pair relations over time as well as effects of controlled trials of physical performance and its effects in PD patients.
I am also doing research on different aspects of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) in combination with a controlled trial of a new treatment method of CTS together with a PhD student, whom I am the main supervisor for.
I am involved as co-supervisor in a joint project with the surgical department regarding clinical aspects of optimizing elderly patients going through colorectal cancer operations.
I am also involved as co-supervisor in a joint project with the orthopedic department regarding clinical aspects of optimizing elderly patients going through hip fracture operations.
Another project where I am the co-supervisor is on depression in cognitive disorders.
Sara García-Ptacek is a neurologist PhD from Madrid, Spain. She works under the direction of Maria Eriksdotter on SveDem, the Swedish Dementia Registry. Her research centers around mortality after dementia diagnosis, identifying factors that influence survival. The interplay of body-mass index, cognition and mortality is of particular interest. Dementia with Lewy bodies and cognition in Parkinson's disease are also areas of interest.
Tarja-Brita Robins Wahlin
Associate Professor Tarja-Brita Robins Wahlin is working as a senior researcher of cognitive psychology at Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and honorary Senior Lecture at Discipline of Psychiatry, The University of Queensland School of Medicine, Mental Health Centre, Royal Brisbane & Women’s Hospital, Herston, Australia. Her primary research interests include Huntington’s disease, particularly the neuropsychiatric and preclinical symptoms, Alzheimer's disease, and preclinical cognitive deficits in AD and HD, personality, depression, and suicidal behavior in dementia and elderly population.
I am a medical doctor graduated from School of Medicine, University of Zagreb with previous research experience in the field of Alzheimer’s disease and its potential therapeutics. Since I have held interest in neuroscience and desired to pursue scientific career, I applied for the PhD position within SyDAD European Training Network sponsored by Marie Curie Fellowship at the Division of Clinical Geriatrics, Karolinska Institutet.
Licentiate - Medical internship, Zagreb, Croatia (2015-2016)
MD - School of Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia (2009-2015)
The aim of my PhD project is to evaluate quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) measures as potential neurophysiological markers of synaptic dysfunction on a clinical continuum of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Since typical qEEG phenotypes of mild cognitive impairment and early AD have been described and correlated to disease severity and other surrogate markers of cerebral function, we will investigate in patients with a wide spectra of preclinical and clinical disease severity association of qEEG measures with complex panel of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and topographic markers of neurodegeneration such as FDG-PET glucose metabolism. Furthermore, we aim to validate novel CSF and imaging markers of synaptic dysfunction by investigating their relation to cognitive impairment and molecular neuropathology in novel translational animal model of AD.
Main supervisor: Vesna Jelic, MD, PhD
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