One of the consequences of an ageing population is that the number of people with age-related cognitive decline is increasing. The crossover programme `Maintaining Optimal Cognitive function In Ageing' (MOCIA), funded by NWO, is focused on identifying an increased risk of cognitive decline and improving prevention via the development of a personalised lifestyle approach. MOCIA will design a predictive, preventive, personalized and participatory multi-domain lifestyle intervention for older adults at risk of cognitive decline. The Data Science department at iCIS is one of the partners in the research programme, which is coordinated by Radboud University. The ageing of the population is causing major challenges for society, including an increased prevalence of incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the most common type of dementia. Around 50 million people worldwide were living with dementia in 2018 and this number is estimated to rise to 152 million by 2050. While early prevention is crucial to maintain an optimal cognitive function, it is currently not easy to predict who has an increased risk of cognitive decline. Personal intervention to prevent this decline is also lacking. The two-year intervention MOCIA trial involves about 1200 Dutch elderly individuals and will investigate the effect of combining previously proven effective lifestyle interventions to prevent cognitive decline. In addition, the research programme focuses on individual differences, predictive factors and tools to provide personalised interventions in people's home environment. The programme brings together various disciplines, such as nutrition, lifestyle, behavioural science, clinical research, epidemiology, mathematics, biology, industrial design and technology to help realise to maintain a healthier brain; a combination of better long and short-term memory, increased concentration and greater flexibility. The project is coordinated by Esther Aarts, scientist at the Donders Institute of Radboud University. The crossover programme involves a public-private partnership with applicants from eight knowledge institutes and eight co-financing parties. In addition to Radboud University, it includes Radboudumc, Wageningen University & Research, University of Twente, Maastricht University, Amsterdam UMC, UMC Groningen and the HAN University of Applied Sciences. The co-financing parties are Danone Nutricia Research, IMEC (OnePlanet Research Centre), DSM Nutritional Products, Salut (a VGZ spin-out), Hersenstichting, Reckitt Benckiser/Mead Johnson Nutrition, Alzheimer Nederland and Wageningen Food and Biobased Research. The project has a total budget of 9.17 million euro, of which 6.25 million euro is financed by NWO.
Work Package 2: Non-invasive markers for cognitive decline and intervention response
The Data Science department of iCIS is involved as leader of Work Package 2. The main objective is to develop and validate AI algorithms for identifying non-invasive modifiable risk and protective factors and for designing scoring tools to quantify risk of cognitive decline. In particular, we will develop and validate AI algorithms to unravel individual differences and predictive non-invasive markers for cognitive decline and intervention response. We will combine non-invasive modifiable risk and protective factors in more reliable scoring tools through predictive AI models to quantify risk of cognitive decline on a personal level and to analyse the effect on an intervention in relatively short periods. We will use the developed scoring tools to detect multi-modal non-invasive markers.
People at the Data Science department
Wieske de Swart (PhD student), Jesse Krijthe (guest researcher, project member), Elena Marchiori (WP2 leader), To be appointed (4 years PostDoc), To be appointed (PhD student).