Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Biological markers of neurodegenerative syndromes manifesting with parkinsonism and dementia

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
3.03.00  Medical sciences  Neurobiology   

Code Science Field
B640  Biomedical sciences  Neurology, neuropsychology, neurophysiology 
parkinsonism, dementia, neuropsychology, genetics, functional brain imaging
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (19)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  09790  PhD Jurij Fettich  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2007 - 2010  297 
2.  30915  PhD Dejan Georgiev  Neurobiology  Junior researcher  2009 - 2010  220 
3.  28624  PhD Milica Gregorič Kramberger  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2010  259 
4.  11714  PhD Marko Grmek  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2007 - 2010  161 
5.  24788  MSc Jelka Janša  Neurobiology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  100 
6.  05260  Jože Jensterle  Psychiatry  Researcher  2007 - 2010  49 
7.  21239  PhD Blaž Koritnik  Medical sciences  Researcher  2007 - 2010  276 
8.  05298  PhD Anton Mesec  Neurobiology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  151 
9.  17671  Lidija Ocepek    Technical associate  2007 - 2010  53 
10.  20710  Nuška Pečarič Meglič  Neurobiology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  94 
11.  05380  PhD Zvezdan Pirtošek  Neurobiology  Head  2007 - 2010  751 
12.  08010  PhD Samo Ribarič  Neurobiology  Researcher  2009 - 2010  309 
13.  17683  Ivan Slodnjak    Technical associate  2007 - 2010  42 
14.  25614  PhD Barbara Starovasnik Žagavec  Psychology  Junior researcher  2007 - 2008  109 
15.  16418  PhD Gorazd Bernard Stokin  Neurobiology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  175 
16.  26487  PhD Vita Štukovnik  Psychology  Junior researcher  2007 - 2010  141 
17.  24691  PhD Petra Tomše  Cardiovascular system  Researcher  2007 - 2010  126 
18.  15442  PhD Maja Trošt  Neurobiology  Researcher  2007 - 2010  465 
19.  17693  Anka Žekš    Technical associate  2007 - 2010 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0312  University Medical Centre Ljubljana  Ljubljana  5057272000  77,959 
2.  0381  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Medicine  Ljubljana  1627066  48,762 
3.  1620  University Psyhiatric Hospital  Ljubljana - Polje  1191004000  3,486 
Neurodegenerative disorders are among the most common causes of morbidity in the old age. They often occur as a combination of parkinsonism and dementia, with the most common syndromes presenting as Parkinson's disease (PD), Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD), diffuse Lewy body dementia (DLBD) and Alzheimer's dementia (AD). In the initial stages of the disease, it may be quite difficult to distinguish between the syndromes. A hypothesis exists that neurodegenerative disorders represent a continuum, with PD and AD on the extremes, and PDD and DLBD between them. The purpose of this study is to find out pros and cons of the two theories: neoredegenerative disorders as separate entities vs. Neurodegenerative disorders as a continuum. The issue will be address with the use of biological markers (neuropsychological testing, morphologic and functional imaging, genomic expression in peripheral blood). Biological markers maj help in confirming the correct diagnosis, they may clarify pathophysiological processes in neurodegeneration and thus contribute to a more successful treatment and enable a more precise prognosis in early stages of the disease.
Significance for science
The project encompasses wide range of neurological conditions, including cognitive impairments, dementias and parkinsonism. The project group contributed to the following areas: 1. clinical neurology: results will help towards understanding and classification of neurodegenerative diseases. Different neurodegenerative diseases present with a variety of clinical symptoms (symptoms of dementia and parkinsonism or a combination of dementia and parkinsonism). It is not clear if these syndromes are different nosological entities or are they just a different expression of the same disease. Based on the results (neurological, psychiatric, paraclinical) we try to differentiate between different disorders in early stage of their manifestation; 2. genetic characteristics of neurodegenerative diseases: we have sampled blood for genetic studies from every patient, and than analysed by using biochips. This will improve our knowledge of the genetic basis of neurodegenerative diseases; 3. use of imaging studies: functional imaging shows brain activity, which is usually considerably changed in neurodegenerative diseases. Some of them (SPECT, DATScan) show changes in brain activity in the early stages of the diseases, which helps to diagnose particular syndromes early in the disease course. 4. utility of neuropsychology in differential diagnosis of dementias: tests are designed in such a way, to evaluate different cognitive domains. These tests reflect the cortical function and the connection of cortex to basal ganglia. The results from cognitive testing would help compare different aspects of cognitive functioning, which is invaulable in differential diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases presenting as a combination of dementia and parkinsonism. 5. cognitive neurosciences: decision making is one of the cognitive domains, which is very frequently affected by neurodegenerative disorders.
Significance for the country
The avarage life expectancy considerably increased in Slovenia in the last decades, increasing the incidenece and prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders (dementia and parkinonism). The importance of the study for the development of Slovenia is reflected through the following project activities: 1. For the first time, a specialized cognitive, out-patient, tertiary clinic was introduced in Slovenia; 2. Activities in the Gait and Movement Disorders Lab were initiated. Cognitive and clinical evaluation of patients with neurodegenerative diseases is being performed (spirography, gait analysis, video analysis). 3. Laboratory for Cognitive Neurology was established, where neurophysiological analysis (P300, Stroop) are being performed. 4. Cooperation with Clinic for Nuclear Medicine in Ljubljana was established - SPECT, DATScan, PET. 5. Researchers organized cognitive neurology section on a International congress for neurorehabilitation. 6. Head of the project (Z. Pirtošek), became a member of the council of the Joint Programme on Neurodegeneration in EU. 7. New international, interdisciplinary Master Studies Postgarduate Curriculum was established in Ljubljana (together with Universities in Budapest, Zagreb and Viena). 8. the project contributed to increase the public awareness of the neurodegenerative diseases (SINAPSA- Teden možganov, Emzin Journal). 9. students were also included in the reseasch activities within the project (Gaja Ferbežar and Andrej Poročnik received a Prešeren award for their research study; two students preformed a research, as a part of their undergraduate activities).10. In the Laboratory for liquor diagnostics we introduced liquor diagnostics of Azheimer's dementia, by analyzing CSF for tau, phospho tau and beta amyloid.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2008, 2009, final report, complete report on dLib.si
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