Blokland_picThe Center for Translational Research in Aging and Longevity hosted a seminar by Dr. Arjan Blokland on October 22, 2015.  Dr. Blokland is Faculty in Psychology Department at  Maastricht University. The presentation was titled “Combatting cognitive decline in aging and dementia: prevention, nutrition, drugs, or brain stimulation.” A video of Dr. Blockland’s presentation is available here.

With an increasing numberof old people we will be facing more age-related diseases, like cognitive deficits. Four different approaches can be proposed to combat this age-related cognitive decline. At present drug treatments are available and there are various claims that nutritional ingredients could be beneficial. Epidemiological studies also support that life style can predict the development of cognitive functions at old age. Finally, recent studies claim that brain stimulation may improve cognitive functions at old age. In his presentation, Dr. Blokland will present data of these different approaches.

Dr. Blockland studied Psychology at the Radboud University (Nijmegen, NL). After receiving his PhD in Maastricht in 1992, he did a post doc at the University of Cambridge. This project was funded by NWO and investigated short-term memory processing in rats. In 1993, he took a position as laboratory head at Tropon (CNS research Bayer). He was responsible for testing novel compounds in animal models of aging and dementia. He successfully applied for a Royal Academy Fellowship (KNAW) grant and returned to Maastricht University in 1996. In this project, he examined risk factors for cognitive aging and dementia. In 2009, he was appointed as an associate professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. His research is related to different topics related to learning and memory. One line of research is related to psychopharmacology of learning and memory, with the main focus on the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. He also was involved in evaluating animal models of neurological disorders (eg. depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease). For many years, he has also been involved in the evaluation of drugs on memory performance in animals and humans. The aim of these studies was finding translational tools in examining the predictability of treatments in animals to humans. For this purpose, he also used EEG measures to compare the performance and drug effects across species in different experimental paradigms. For more information about Dr. Blokland, visit http://www.maastrichtuniversity.nl/web/Profile/a.blokland.htm.

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