University of Eastern Finland

University of Eastern Finland, Dept. of Neurology, has long experience of epidemiological, clinical and experimental research in various fields concerning neurodegenerative disorders, cerebrovascular disorders, neuropathology, genetics, and clinical drug development. It offers opportunities for collaborative work on national and international level, and provides excellent working facilities with access to the most modern techniques and methods. A multidisciplinary perspective is guaranteed by the presence of scientists from different fields.

The Neuroepidemiology group at the Department of Neurology, UEF is at the forefront of international collaborative efforts to solve the clinical and public health problems of early identification of individuals at increased risk of late-life cognitive impairment, and of developing intervention strategies to prevent or delay the onset of cognitive impairment and dementia. The Cardiovascular Risk factors, Aging and Incidence of Dementia (CAIDE) study was initiated and conducted here. CAIDE is internationally one of the very few studies with a large and representative population-based cohort, a long follow-up time (up to three decades), and measurements of several risk factors and health-related outcomes from midlife to late-life. Following results from CAIDE, the Neuro-epidemiology group has taken the next step and initiated the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER). The Kuopio centre is the largest among the 6 FINGER centres. The Department of Neurology at UEF is also collaborating with the Kuopio Research Institute of Exercise Medicine and the National Institute for Health and Welfare in Helsinki (THL) on the ongoing four-year exercise and dietary intervention study Dose-Responses to Exercise Training (DRs EXTRA) and the FINRISK cohort surveys (large population-based surveys carried out since 1972 every five years using independent, random and representative population samples from different parts of Finland). The Neuro-epidemiology group at UEF has been actively working to integrate research on cognitive impairment and dementia-related diseases into the FINRISK database for monitoring of risk factors for chronic diseases.

Key persons:

Professor Hilkka Soininen

Hilkka SoininenProfessor Hilkka Soininen MD, PhD is Head of the Department of Neurology, Kuopio, UEF. She is one of the leading worldwide experts in the field of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and has a broad experience and knowledge especially in clinical trials, neuroimaging, diagnostic markers in AD and cognitive disorders. She is involved in several international collaborative projects in the area, including EU-projects ADDNeuroMed, LIPIDIDIET and PredictAD.

Dr. Tiia Ngandu MD.

Tiia NganduTiia Ngandu, MD, PhD is a medical specialist at the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland. Her main research interests are lifestyle-related risk factors and prevention of dementia and AD. She is currently working as the main coordinator of the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability (FINGER).

Dr. Alina Solomon

Alina SolomonDr. Alina Solomon, MD, PhD is a research scientist and scientific coordinator of the FINGER study. She has a long experience in management of large population databases and is used to integrating clinical and research work.

Dr. Mariagnese Barbera

BarberaMariagnese-webMariagnese Barbera (PhD) is a Pharmacologist by training. She studied Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and obtained her PhD in 2007. Since then she has been involved in the management of large clinical studies in the area of cancer research. For the HATICE study, she is in charge of coordinating the “Design of Generic Intervention” (WP4) and, in general, of the contribution of UEF to the study.