Tag Archives: Longitudinal Cohorts

Alzheimer's & DementiaThe JPND working group on vascular contributions to neurodegeneration, which was selected under the 2014 call for working groups on cohort studies, brought together 55 international experts on brain disease and dementia to survey the data from more than 90 studies, representing more than 660,000 participants.

The working group’s final results and recommendations were recently published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia. To access the full paper, “METACOHORTS for the study of vascular disease and its contribution to cognitive decline and neurodegeneration,” click here.

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) will shortly begin another action to support working groups on “Harmonisation and Alignment in Brain Imaging Methods for Neurodegeneration”.

The aim of the call is to establish a limited number of transnational, JPND-sponsored expert working groups to address issues of key relevance for the future use of brain imaging techniques in ND research. Each working group can bid up to €50,000 for support of its activities, which are expected to run for a maximum of 6 months.

This will be a 1-step call, anticipated to launch in early January 2016, with a likely submission deadline of March 2016. Further details will be provided on the call launch date in January 2016. However, any new ideas to tackle harmonisation and alignment in brain imaging will be welcome. For example, this may include:

  • Harmonisation of acquisition for current markers (acquisition and harmonisation of procedures, for example, for MR, FDG PET, and EEG signals)
  • Simplification of web access to image analysis environments (improving the secure access to innovative web-based image analysis environments for neurodegenerative diseases)
  • Innovative PET molecular markers (fostering the use of established and experimental PET methods)
  • Innovative ultra-high field (UHF) MR markers

Please Note:

  • Proposals are not limited to these topics, and may cover other topics within harmonisation and alignment of brain imaging methods.
  • All information regarding future JPND Call topics is subject to change.
  • Final call information will be published on the JPND website (www.jpnd.eu).

The diseases covered by JPND are:
– Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias
– Parkinson’s disease (PD) and PD‐related disorders
– Prion disease
– Motor neurone diseases (MND)
– Huntington’s Disease (HD)
– Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA)
– Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)


Two recent studies have investigated the direct links and associations between depression and Parkinson’s Disease

A longitudinal study from Sweden investigated the long-term risk of Parkinson disease (PD) after depression and evaluated potential confounding by shared susceptibility to the two diagnoses.

Published in the journal Neurology, this study demonstrated a time-dependent effect, dose-response pattern for recurrent depression, and lack of evidence for co-aggregation among siblings which together indicate a direct association between depression and subsequent PD. Given that the association was significant for a follow-up period of more than two decades, depression may be a very early pro-dromal symptom of PD, or a causal risk factor.

The effects of anti-depressive treatments for Parkinson’s Disease were also recently reviewed in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.  The associated meta-analysis in the study demonstrates that pharmacologic treatment with antidepressant medications, specifically the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and behavioral interventions (CBT) significantly improved depression among Parkinson’s disease patients.

The authors examined trials assessing treatment for depression in Parkinson’s disease (dPD) and found that:

  • SSRIs demonstrate significant improvement in depressive symptoms.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) shows a substantial effect in dPD treatment.
  • Evidence of efficacy of both SSRIs and CBT is provided, at least on the short term.

Cohort Study:  Depression and subsequent risk of Parkinson disease – A nationwide cohort study. Gustaffssonn et al., Neurology.  Published online before print May 20, 2015, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001684

Antidepressive treatments for Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis
Emily Bomasang-Layno, et al., Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, Available online 16 May 2015

Study demonstrates that free-water provides a potential non-invasive progression marker of the substantia nigra region in the brain.

Parkinson’s disease is a CNS disorder that results from the loss of cells in various parts of the brain, including a region called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra cells produce dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement.

With no objective test or biomarker for Parkinson’s, there is a clear need to develop non-invasive markers of substantia nigra progression in Parkinson’s disease. This study’s authors had previously found elevated free-water levels in the substantia nigra for patients with Parkinson’s disease compared with controls in single-site and multi-site cohorts.

In this study, published in the journal “Brain”, they tested the hypotheses that free-water levels in the substantia nigra of Parkinson’s disease increase following 1 year of progression, and that baseline free-water levels in the substantia nigra predict the change in bradykinesia following 1 year.
The researchers conducted a longitudinal study in controls (n = 19) and patients with Parkinson’s disease (n = 25). Diffusion imaging and clinical data were collected at baseline and after 1 year. Free-water analyses were performed on diffusion imaging data using blinded, hand-drawn regions of interest in the posterior substantia nigra.

The results found that free water levels increases with progression of Parkinson’s disease, and predicts subsequent changes in bradykinesia and cognitive status over 1 year, thus demonstrating that free-water provides a potential non-invasive progression marker of the substantia nigra.

Longitudinal changes in free-water within the substantia nigra of Parkinson’s disease
Edward Ofori ,et al.,  DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv136

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has announced a EUR 30 million call for neurodegenerative disease research topped-up with EUR 10 million from the Horizon 2020 framework programme for research and innovation of the European Union.

Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are a truly global challenge.  Most of these diseases remain incurable and are strongly linked with aging populations. Dementias alone affect more than 7 million people in Europe and their care is estimated to cost  EUR 130 billion a year. The challenge facing the world of diagnosing, treating and caring for people affected by neurodegenerative diseases is extremely daunting and no single country alone has the expertise or resources necessary to tackle all of the big questions in this area.

JPND was established in 2009 to enable participating EU Member States to work together on the challenge of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s. In the past five years, tremendous progress has been made by JPND in terms of increasing coordination, collaboration and alignment between national research programmes and projects related to neurodegenerative diseases.  This has resulted in an unprecedented mobilization of human resources, actions, funding and awareness to tackle this problem which no country can address alone.

JPND have announced a major new cohesive action with the European Commission, entitled ‘JPcofuND’. The initiative expects to launch a joint transnational call for proposals in January 2015 aimed at supporting international research collaborations in three JPND priority areas:  Longitudinal Cohorts, Animal and Cell Models, Risk and Protective Factors. This initiative will see more than EUR 30 million coming from the JPND member countries being made available, with an additional EUR 10 million European Commission “topping up” fund.

According to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board

“this unique co-funded initiative further establishes concrete synergies with Horizon 2020 to address this global threat.Thisis a significant scale-up of implementation of the JPND research strategy, and a major step forward towards the realisation of a “European Research Area” dedicated to neurodegenerative disease research – an issue central to the joint programming concept.

European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas said:

“The EU Joint Programming approach tackles some of the major challenges we face as a society. Thanks to this new co-funded initiative of JPND and the European Commission, top European researchers will be working together to help the millions of people who suffer from Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. By making research more efficient and avoiding the duplication of work, this initiative will increase the prospects of real progress in the prevention and treatment of these diseases, as well as in patient care.”

A pre-call announcement, with the indicative titles of each topic, was made recently on the JPND website.  Further detail will be provided on this page on the call launch date in January 2015.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 643417 – JPcofuND

Media enquiries should be directed to:

Derick Mitchell


+353 1 442 9015

The EU Joint Programme – Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) will shortly begin a major new cohesive action with the European Commission – the first concrete synergy between JPND and Horizon 2020 designed to address the global threat of neurodegenerative diseases.

As part of this new initiative, JPND will launch a joint transnational call for proposals in January 2015 aimed at supporting transnational research collaborations in three JPND priority areas:

  • Longitudinal Cohorts
  • Advanced Experimental Models
  • Risk and Protective Factors

The aim of the call is to support a limited number of ambitious, high level, innovative, multi-national and multi-disciplinary collaborative research projects that will add value to the respective research areas.

The call will see more than 30 million euro being made available by JPND member countries, including a significant additional European Commission “topping up” component of up to 30%.

This will be a 2-step call, anticipated to launch in early January 2015, with a likely first stage (pre-proposal submission) deadline of March 2015.

Further detail will be provided at the time of the call launch date in January 2015. However, the indicative titles of each call topic are provided below:

Topic 1: Genetic, epigenetic and environmental risk and protective factors of neurodegenerative diseases:

Due to the phenomenal number of high quality proposals received but unsupported under the 2012 JPND joint transnational call, JPND is re-launching a call topic in this area. Examples of areas covered under this topic again include identification of novel genetic, epigenetic and environmental risk and protective factors associated with neurodegenerative disorders in animal, cell and human studies.

Topic 2: Longitudinal cohorts in neurodegenerative disease research:

The key priority under this topic will be to enhance the capabilities of existing longitudinal cohort studies, or linking related studies to address key questions through a synergistic approach. This topic will aim to build upon the report of the JPND Action Group in this area as well as referencing the ongoing work of the JPND Working Groups, supported under the 2014 JPND “rapid action” call.

Topic 3: Advanced experimental models of neurodegenerative diseases:

This topic will focus on the encouragement of a next generation of reliable and well characterized animal and cell models for neurodegenerative diseases, building upon the report of the JPND Action Group in this area. This may include the development of novel animal models for specific diseases to better reproduce the complexity of the clinical features of the disease in humans, the enhancement of existing animal models (e.g. by fostering a deeper characterization of the phenotypes and pathologies), and the exploitation of novel (or the improvement of existing) neuronal, neuronal-like cells or inducible pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, generated from different sources.

Please Note: 

  • Proposals are not limited to each topic, and may cover two or more topics.
  • JPND countries may support one, two or three call topics so applicants will need to take this into consideration.
  • Call applicants are encouraged to take advantage of the JPND online partnering tool to showcase their research group’s expertise, search for appropriate partners and pitch call-related ideas. An improved, multi-lingual version of the pilot tool is now available here.
  • All information regarding future JPND Call topics is indicative and subject to change.
  • Final call information will be published on the JPND website.

The JPND diseases are:
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and PD‐related disorders, Prion disease, Motor neurone diseases (MND), Huntington’s disease (HD), Spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA)


Ten international working groups to be funded under JPND call

The EU Joint Programme Neurodegenerative Disease Research (JPND) has released the results of a “rapid action” call to support ten groups of leading scientists in finding ways to enhance the use of longitudinal cohort studies for neurodegenerative disease (ND) research.

JPND launched this call on 23rd April 2014 as part of a series of new JPND initiatives, designed to amplify the impact of research by aligning and building upon existing national programmes and initiatives, and to bring a more wide-ranging and multidisciplinary approach to research on neurodegenerative diseases.

The awarded proposals are for top ND scientists to come together and recommend how to address the most pressing issues that prevent full use of longitudinal cohorts. This includes population studies and disease cohorts, both having considerable potential for ND research.  Funding decisions were based upon scientific evaluation and recommendations to the ten sponsor countries by a JPND Peer Review Panel.

Awards cover a wide ND landscape (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Lewy-body and vascular dementia) and different groups will address methodological challenges for studies in a number of areas,  including cognition/functional assessment, biomarkers and biobanking, imaging, health and social outcomes and presymptomatic ND.

“The plan is that each group will push forward the conceptualization of a key challenge and derive valuable guidelines and/or best practice frameworks for the wider research community” , commented Dr. Rob Buckle, Director of Science Programmes at the UK Medical Research Council, the organisation which facilitated the call process.

According to Professor Philippe Amouyel, Chair of the JPND Management Board “this is an excellent outcome for JPND and a significant opportunity to advance the field.  A rapid and flexible JPND process is now established to achieve JPND strategic goals, here to promote harmonisation of approaches and data sharing. These outputs will accelerate the progress of future studies by the global ND community”.

Each Working Group is expected to run for a maximum of 6 months, reporting back to JPND by Q1 2015.  Looking to the future, and drawing on advice emerging from the Working Groups. JPND is likely to launch a follow-up call for full scientific applications on longitudinal cohort studies, to be received next year.

For further information on the Working Groups awards, click on the link below: