Our innovation and research


Marcel Olde Rikkert is Clinician-Innovator and Principal Investigator at the Radboud University Medical Centre and his research overall focuses on innovation and evaluation of complex interventions in frail elderly, with special focus on persons with cognitive decline (and dementia. 

On this topic his group carries out a new large project (start 1 May 2018) together with Prof Christiann Beckmann (Donder Centre) to develop an improved memory function by musical neurofeedback.

The combination of innovative clinical intervention using NeuroFeedback and neuroimaging-based characterisation allow new insights into the aetiology of neurodegenerative disorders and new activating mechanisms of treatment. In sum, we want to answer the question what makes music alive inside Henry with Alzheimer, already posed by the excellent behaviour observer Oliver Sacks (see: youtube: Henry, alive inside and Oliver Sacks).

The geriatric research grpup also carried out several randomized trials of which the latest multicentre study were very innovative and both published in top journals:

1. The V-time study, in which a virtual reality intervention lowers the likleihood of falls in older patients with low resilience in gait and posture. See Lancet Aug 11, 2016.

2. The Namisol study, on cannabis for behavioral disturbances in Alzheimer's, which was published in Neurology (2015). This study showed no overall effect, but points at the fact that higher dose cannabis may be applied in future research on dementia care, as the lower doses were completly safe.

Other innovations by his research group:

-Health and welfare poratl for drail elderly: ZWIP. See www.ZWIP.NL

-Brain aging monitor, to guide life style and brain aging by self management. See: www.brainagingmonitor.nl 

-DementiaNet Innovation: www.dementienet.com

-See also our EASYcare innovation video at We & our patients

R&D team

The research is carried out in close collaboration with the other (j) PI’s, researchers and PhD students, who together form the geriatric department's research teams. Key players are:
Dr Jurgen Claassen, geriatrician, JPI
Dr René Melis, MD epidemiologist and senior researcher, PI
Prof dr Roy Kessels, neuropsychologist. PI.
Dr Marjolein vd Marck,  yung leader in dementia care;
Dr Fokke v Meulen, technical physician;
Dr Teun Aalbers, moveent scientist;
Dr Justine Aaronson, neuropsychologist.

And other researchers/innovators such as:
Drs. Freek vd Pluim, coordinator of the Radboudumc Alzheimer Centre;
Dr. Franka Leeuwis and Dr Jennifer Lutomski in the national database study and dr Teun Aalbers in the healthy brain aging monitor (www.brainagingmonitor.nl);
Dr. Li Qin, at the national databases for dementia and the Dutch Programme for Health Care in frail elderly (NPO) programme;
Drs Ir. Daan de Jonge, PhD, involved in developing cerberal perfusion time series measurements.

Dr. Miriam Reelick, is ass professor in the V-Time study on prevention of falls by virtual reality and exercise.

Dr Dieneke van Asselt, heads the training of geriatric residents, and is researchers in geriatric nutrition.
Dr. Marianne v Iersel, staff geriatrician, junior Principal Lecturer and researcher in education.
Dr Yvonne Schoon,staff geriatrician, heads the emergency department of the Radboudumc as well, and is specialised in falls and movement disorders in the elderly.
Dr Didy Jacobse, staff geriatrician, and specialised in EPIC support and project leader EASYcare in Hospital.
Mrs Annemie Diepstraten, senior clinician and specialised in quality management, pharmacotherapy, and training of medical interns.
Mrs William van Aalst, physician assistant and very well equipped and experienced in guiding dementia patients through care and research projects (clinical study leader in Nilvad and several other trials).

 International networks

Further, we work in close collaboration with researchers from other departments of the RUNMC (e.g. IQ Health Care prof G Westert, prof dr Pim Assendelft, primary care; dr Eddy Adang Health Evidence, and others).

We actively collaborate in the SPARCS network on tipping point research with prof Marten Scheffer.http://www.sparcs-center.org/about-us/staff-contacts/marten-scheffer.html

Our international collaboration is strong with UK for example on EASYcare (eg prof John Gladman, and prof Ian Philp in Nottingham and Hull), and the USA (e.g. Prof Chris Callahan, Indianapolis, dr July Bynum Dartmouth, prof Stephanie Studenski, Pittsburgh and prof Rosanne Leipzig, New York).

We also collaborate in the European Alzheimer Disiease consortium (EADC, see www.EADCinfo, the European Dementia Consensus Network (EDCON), the International Dementia Alliance (IDEAL), and are reference site for the IAGG, and the EU in the Healthy and active aging programme.

Our current research focuses on two main topics:

1. Complexity and Resilience in older persons:

From the perspective of complexity science and systems dyanmics we want to improve diagnosing and forecasting Tipping Points and prevent deterioration in health by better guidance.
Our vision is to creat a personal digitalized guidance, based on careful listening and following individual older persons along their disease trajectories.

2. Dementia and related problems

Dementia related research questions:
-Prevention: How can health life style contribute best to healthy brain aging?
-Health sevices research: What are the best interventions for subjects with cognitive decline? How can AlzheimerNet realize added value for patients, cost-effectiveness for society and better education for professionals in dementia care?
-Diagnostics: What do biomarkers add to current diagnostics of dementia in old age? What added value does early diagnosis deliver for the older persons and their proxies?
-Etiology: How does comorbidity contribute to cognitive decline in old age?
Research Tools:
-Epidemiological research and sophisticated modeling in large cross-sectional and longitudinal cohorts, and in indivdual time series.

-Time series analyses wth smart sensors and in our hemodynamics lab.

-Parient Reported Outcome measures in Tipping Points, related to dementia and other geriatric syndromes.

-DashBoard for continuous measurement of added value in health care for frail older subjects and dementia care.
-Cerebrovscaular perfusion measurements/imaging (NIRS, ASL, TCD, RR measurements)
-Comorbidity and frailty assessments (gait speed, gait analysis, balance, falls assessment)
-Neuropsychological testing (own computerized test batteries).
-Innovative interventions (such as the Care and Welfare Information Portal, see www.zwip.nl)

Research institutes:
Radboud Alzheimer Centre (see www.RadboudAlzheimerCentre)
Donders Institure for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour (see: http://www.ru.nl/donders/)
Nijmegen Centre for Evidence Based Practice (NCEBP)  (http://www.umcn.nl/RESEARCH/RESEARCHINSTITUTES/NCEBP/Pages/default.aspx)

Recent publications:
More than 350 peer reviewed publications . H-index: 36
(see:http://www.researcherid.com/rid/D-9773-2012 )

3 recent top-publications:

1. Lancet. 2016 Aug 11. Addition of a non-immersive virtual reality component to treadmill training to reduce fall risk in older adults (V-TIME): a randomised controlled trial.

2. Tetrahydrocannabinol for neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia: A randomized controlled trial. van den Elsen GA, Ahmed AI, Verkes RJ, Kramers C, Feuth T, Rosenberg PB, van der Marck MA, Olde Rikkert MG. Neurology. 2015 Jun 9;84(23):2338-46.

3. Clegg A, Young J, Iliffe S, Olde Rikkert MO, Rockwood K. Frailty in elderly people. Lancet. 2013 Mar 2;381(9868):752-62.