NIHS builds new connections in brain health research at prestigious international meeting



Lausanne, Switzerland - 3rd August 2016. How can we maintain brain health as we age?  As the world population grows older, demand for treatments to reduce the risk of cognitive decline has increased.  Scientific evidence shows that a healthy lifestyle, including a nutritious diet, may be crucial for preserving brain function and preventing dementia.  But how does it work?

Interestingly, scientists have recently found new similarities between different brain diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  All four diseases share a common pathological feature – clumping of misfolded proteins throughout the brain. These clumps appear first in a brain region specific for that disease, and then spread to functionally connected regions as the disease progresses. Research into this common disease mechanism may help us understand how we can better maintain our brain health.

In order to unite research across different disease areas and to explore the commonalities, NIHS Brain Health scientists Amy Pooler and Claus Rieker organized and chaired an interdisciplinary session at the prestigious 10th Forum of Neuroscience organized by the Federation of European Neurosciences Societies (FENS) that took place at the beginning of July, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The symposium, entitled “Cell-to-cell propagation of misfolded proteins as a common feature in neurodegeneration” had the goal to connect neurodegeneration research across multiple fields in order to explore common disease mechanism and identify novel therapeutic targets. Top scientists leading the field of Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) presented and discussed their field and research.

“By bringing together world class experts in different fields of neurogeneration we can accelerate knowledge exchange and create synergies between teams working on different research neurodegenerative diseases,” said Dr. Rieker.  Dr. Pooler added, “The symposia was a great success – feedback from the 300+ attendees was enthusiastic, and the speakers commented on how beneficial it was to be part of such a unique interdisciplinary event.” 

Pascal Steiner, Head of the Cell & Molecular Neurobiology group at NIHS adds: “Playing an active role in such important meetings is key for us to connect with the best scientists in the world of neuroscience in order to build up the foundations of our understanding how nutrition and natural bioactives may promote brain health and slow down neurological disease progression.”

NIHS researchers are currently involved in a number of projects to develop new nutritional interventions for maintaining brain health in various disease conditions.

About NIHS:

NIHS is a biomedical research institute, part of the Nestlé’s global R&D network, dedicated to fundamental research aimed at understanding health and disease and developing science-based targeted nutritional solutions for the maintenance of health. To achieve its aim, NIHS employs state-of-the-art technologies and biological models to characterize health and disease with a holistic and integrated approach. The ultimate goal of the Institute is to develop knowledge that can empower people to better maintain their health through nutritional approaches, especially in relation to their molecular profile and lifestyle status.

More about Brain Health at NIHS:
• https://auth-prod.nestleinstitutehealthsciences.com/news/newsinstitute/nihs-ac-immune-collaboration
• https://auth-prod.nestleinstitutehealthsciences.com/news/newsinstitute/new-hub-in-nutrition-metabolism-dementia

Picture Legend (from left to right):

Prof. Dr. Patrik Brundin (Van Andel Institute, USA; Lund University, Sweden)
Dr Amy Pooler (Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences)
Prof. Dr. Luc Buée (INSERM, University of Lille, France)
Dr Claus Rieker (Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences)
Prof. Dr. Magdalini Polymenidou (University of Zürich, Switzerland)
Prof. Dr. Eline Pecho‐Vrieseling  (University of Basel, Switzerland)

For enquiries please contact:
Laura Camurri, Communications, NIHS
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