Mapping the brain

Child Study Group

The Child Study Group is chaired by professor Jaap Oosterlaan and hosts two lines of research. One line of research focuses on childhood disruptive behaviour disorders, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and antisocial behaviour. The other line of research targets medical conditions affecting the central nervous system, such as premature birth and traumatic brain injury. Currently more than 20 full time equivalent researchers work on these two lines of research, including one assistant professor, two post-docs, and more than fifteen PhD students. The research programme employs a broad array of measures including measures of behavioural, cognitive, motor, academic and brain functioning. Cognitive and motor functioning is assessed using a variety of mostly computerized methods assessing a broad array of functions varying from basic motor skills to higher order cognitive processes. A range of sophisticated computer based paradigms has been developed for this purpose. Brain functioning is assessed using imaging techniques including high density EEG and MRI-based techniques including structural and functional MRI as well as diffusion tensor imaging.


Aging and Dementia

The program Aging and Dementia is chaired by professor Erik Scherder and hosts three lines of research. One line focuses on the relationship between physical activity (walking, mastication, hand motor activity, watching physical activity of others) and behaviour (cognition, sleep-wake rhythm, and mood) in people with dementia; the second line of research concerns the relationship between pain, physical activity, and behaviour (as described above) in people with a cognitive impairment (dementia, intellectual disability), and the third line of research focuses on brain injuries after sports (e.g. soccer) and behaviour, more specifically on ‘return to play’. In all our projects is the target to further examine the close relationship between motor activity and a wide array of behavioural functions, with a specific focus on the question whether this relationship is causal. If this appears to be the case, new rehabilitation strategies will become available.


Endocrinological Neuropsychology

The research program Endocrinological Neuropsychology is chaired by professor Madeleine Drent in collaboration with dr. Jan Berend Deijen and concerns the relationship between neuropsychological functioning and normal as well as clinical endocrine fluctuations, such as the activity of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-I (GH/IGF-I) axis and adipokines. Decline in the activity of the GH/IGF-I axis seems to play a mediating role in age-related impairment of neuropsychological functions. The relationship is studied between the GH/IGF-I status and neuropsychological functions in healthy subjects, aging and depression. Collaboration is established with the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and the Nederlandse Angst en Depressie Studie (NESDA). Differences in neuropsychological indices and brain activation during fMRI/PET scanning are determined in subjects of different ages with high or low IGF-I status. In addition, the effects of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and GH substitution therapy on memory performance is studied in GHD adult patients, patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome and traumatic brain injury. Also, attention is directed to body composition, obesity, weight loss and diabetes mellitus in relation to levels of adipokines, psychological well-being and cognitive functioning.