On November 20th, 2017, around 40 interested persons were able to visit the Research Centre in Bonn-Hardtberg and experience what participants of the Rhineland Study are going to expect when they enter the study.
"People are getting older and older. Life span increases every year for about 3 months", said Dr Antonio Schmandke, Science Manager of the Rheinland Study, to the visitors. On average, people born in 2017 will be 3 months older than people born in 2016. "With the increasing life span, the risk for age-associated diseases also increases. Despite medical progress, more and more people worldwide are suffering from dementia ", said Schmandke. “The cognitive impairments occur relatively late in life, so that a large window of time remains, in which risk factors can be observed and prevention could take place".
In order to understand that window of time better, the Rhineland study started in 2016 as a prospective cohort study. One of its goals is to clarify how the brain ages. For this purpose, approximately 30 000 Bonners will be examined physically and mentally at regular intervals within the next decades. Based on the collected data, for example, biomarkers could be investigated, which could be used to identify people with an increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia.
After the introduction, the participants of the DietBB Seminar SPECIAL visited the examination rooms. Room by room, study team members explained the methods of the investigations. The methods range from blood sampling for the collection of biomaterials to neurological, cognitive, cardiac tests to the recording of dietary habits. The heart of the examination rooms is the modern MRI device, which uses differentiated imaging techniques to examine the structure and function of the brain.
The participants thanked for the exciting visit in the Rheinland Study's Research Centre in Bonn-Hardtberg!
Text: Dr. Maike Gutmann, DGE, TA 6