Epidemiologist/Research Scientist OPTIMA
Senior Research Associate University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry and Honorary Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Department of Public Health
Research Associate Professor UAMS
The early detection of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment
and vascular cognitive impairment using cognitive tests
The early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is important for potentially successful treatment. The Oxford Project To Investigate Memory and Ageing has included over 800 cases with dementia and controls. We developed a binary computerized, decision tree based classification system for the differential diagnosis of dementia and various types of cognitive impairment. This system has been validated on over 200 post-mortem confirmed cases and controls and has shown a high degree of accuracy (>82% correctly classified) and substantial inter-rater reliability between a medical student and experienced neurologist. We also designed a brief comprehensive neuropsychological test battery to help differentiate controls from cases with cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. This battery included tests for memory, attention, executive function, speed, perception and visuospatial skills. It was administered to 51 controls, 41 mild or vascular cognitive impairment cases, 60 Alzheimer (AD) and 13 Other Dementia Syndrome cases from the OPTIMA cohort. The Alzheimer group performed worse on all tests. The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test and a visual memory test (The Placing Test) showed significant discriminative capacity between controls and other groups. Map search, Letter Cancellation and Pattern and Letter Comparison Speed discriminated vascular cognitive impairment/dementia from controls. Category fluency, CLOX and memory tests distinguished best between mild cognitive impairment and AD. In sum, sensitive and specific neuropsychological tests have been shown to be helpful in confirming clinical diagnoses for particular types of dementia and cognitive impairment in the elderly
1-10 1993 to 1-4 1998 Maastricht University, Dept. Neuropsychology & Psychiatry
PhD. in Medical faculty, promotor: prof. dr. J. Jolles, title of thesis :
Age-related Cognitive Decline and Cognition Enhancers
15-9 1987 to 15-9 1993 University of Limburg, Psychodiagnostics degree and MSc. in Health Science (this degree gives access to Clinical Psychology Postgraduate training and Psychology organization memberships)
Positions and employment:
2004 - 2005 Senior Research Associate Department of Psychiatry University of Cambridge. Collaborator of the Cognitive Function and Ageing Study, Honorary visiting senior fellow MRC-Biostatistics Unit and Dept. of Public Health, Cambridge. Collaborator of EPIC-Norfolk
1999 - 2005 Research Scientist (Epidemiologist/Neuropsychologist) ‘Oxford Project To Investigate Memory and Ageing’, University of Oxford, Department of Pharmacology to investigate risk factors for cerebrovascular disease, age-related cognitive decline and dementia. I have developed and validated cognitive tests and a computerized diagnostic system. Among other collaborations, I have also set up a project with Dr. P. Kreager (Somerville college) to investigate hormone levels & dementia prevalence in cohorts in Indonesia.
2003-2006 Research Associate Professor Donald Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, UAMS (ranked 8th nationally for its graduate geriatrics teaching program) to investigate risk factors for vascular disease and cognitive decline in a rural cohort with Prof. V.W. Henderson. I manage a project-coordinator & research assistants in a collaboration study with the Nutrition, Metabolism and Exercise group (Prof. W. Evans, Dr. C. Lamberts) to investigate cognition, diet and exercise in the elderly. Collaborator of a homocysteine lowering trial (Dr. C. Cooney) UAMS. Collaborator of the H-ABC multi-centre study to investigate cognitive function and diet.
2000-2004 Margaret Pelly Junior Research Fellow Somerville College, Oxford
2001 Statistical consultant 'Cognitive Drug Research, Reading, U.K.
1999 - 2005 Lecturer Postgraduate course ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’: Oxford Brookes University, Oxford
1998 – 1999 Post-Doc Blaschko Fellowship 'Hormones & AD' University of Oxford
1997 – 1998 Post-Doc Age, Hormones and Behaviour Maastricht University
1992 – 1999 Lecturer and tutor Health Sciences & Biological Psychology at Maastricht University
1993 – 1997 Research assistant (AIO employment) Maastricht University. Epidemiological analyses of the Maastricht Aging Study. Management of 11 behavioural-pharmacological experiments, supervision of 8 undergraduate students, 2 test-assistants
1991 – 1993 Research Assistant (psychometrist) RIAGG in Maastricht to assess effects of cognitive behavioural therapy in anxiety disorders
1989 Research Assistant Institute for Drugs, Safety, & Behaviour (I.G.V.G.) in Maastricht
1987 Home Care for the elderly, Amsterdam
Other experience and professional memberships
1999 - Ad Hoc reviewer for Perceptual and Motor Skills, Neuropsychologia, Mechanisms of Ageing & Development, Hormone Research, Eur J Clin Nutrition, Clinical Breast Cancer, Med J Austr, Neurol India, Current Pharmaceutical Design, Human Reproduction Journals Psychoneuroendocrinology, J Neuroendocrinology, Current Topics in Nutraceutical Research, Neuropsychopharmacology, Neurobiology & Aging, Mechanisms of Aging & Development, Exp Opinion on Investigational Drugs, Exp Opinion Pharmacotherapy, Psychopharmacology, Neurology, JNNP
2001 - Reviewer Alzheimer’s Association (U.S.A.) grant applications
2000- Member Alzheimer’s Society, Scientific advisor Andropause Society, member Women’s Health
1998 - 1999 Developmental Committee Linacre College Oxford (fundraising)
1996 - 1997 Member Scientific Committee faculties Health Sciences and Medicine (IWC) Maastricht
1993 Member Studium Generale for Symposium Brain & Behaviour
1991 – 1993 Trainee Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy for anxiety disorders RIAGG Maastricht
1993 Trainee Psychophysiological effects of EMD-R therapy for PTSD (supervision: Prof. Merckelbach, M.Sc. thesis) University of Limburg, Experimental Psychopathology
1991 Trainee Neuropsychological diagnostics of the elderly: Medical Psychiatric Hospital 'Vijverdal' in Maastricht (6 months: supervision: Dr. P. Ganzevles)
1989 - 1991 Student member Curriculum group Mental Health Sciences
2004/5 Honorary visiting Senior Fellow Department Public Health & Primary care, Cambridge University
2005- Biographical profile included in ‘Who’s Who in the World’.
2004/5 Awarded Research Into Ageing/Helped the Aged Research Fellowship
2002- Biographical profile included in ‘Who’s Who in Science and Engineering’.
1999/4 Margaret Pelly Junior Research Fellowship, Somerville College, University of Oxford, full member SCR
1999 Junior faculty Poster Award ‘Women with AD have higher levels of estradiol than Controls’ at the ‘Women’s Cognitive Health: the role of estrogen and other factors in dementia’ conference, November 8-10, 1999 in Winston-Salem, NC, U.S.A.
1998 Curt Richter Award of the International Society of Psychoneuro-endocrinology, Trier, Germany on the basis of the article 'Effect of HRT on cognitive function in elderly women'.
1998 Blaschko Visiting Research Fellowship 'Possible prophylactic effects of serum hormones on medial temporal lobe atrophy, Alzheimer's Disease '
2003 Member Ph.D. Examination Committee and Reading Committee for Drs. B Jorissen ‘Experimental Nutrition and Cognition’ University of Maastricht, 15 December
2002-2003 Supervisor 2 postgraduate students Biological Psychology (TSH and AD, diagnostics)
1999-2005 Lecturer Postgraduate course ‘Cognitive Neuroscience’ at Brookes University, Oxford (Methodology & Design; Neuropsychological diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease; Statistics; Presentation skills, Biological & Neuropsychological aspects of Ageing).
Supervisor 2 postgraduate students
1992-1999 Lecturer: ‘Gender differences’, 'Premenstrual Syndrome', 'Psychosomatics' (Mental Health Science), 'XTC & Marijuana: psychiatric & cognitive effects' (Biological Psychology)
1997-1998 Coordinator module 3.4.3 and practical coordinator 3.4.3. (‘Neuropsychiatric diagnostics’) and 3.7.4. (‘Methodology in research’) for Biological Psychology
1996-1997 Supervisor practicals (‘Methodology in research’, ‘Problem oriented education’)
1995-1997 Tutor Biological Psychology & Health Sciences
1992 Tutor Health Sciences