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Jurgen Claassen

Jurgen A.H.R. Claassen, MD, PhD, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Radboud University, Nijmegen Medical Centre, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

Major experience

Medical degree:

MD, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (1995)

MD, USMLE I and II (1996)

Doctoral thesis: Cerebral hemodynamics in aging: the interplay between blood pressure, cerebral perfusion, and dementia (2008).

Registration as medical specialist Geriatrician, board certified, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (2004)

Current affiliation:

Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, department of Geriatric Medicine. Geriatrician,

Research Interests

My research is driven by the quest for a better understanding of the interactions between blood pressure and the brain. The brain has complex systems that aim to dynamically adapt brain blood flow to changes in supply and demand (e.g. changes in blood pressure, metabolism or neuronal activation). I have explored measurements of cerebral perfusion using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in collaboration with dr. W.C.N. Colier (Artinis). I then enhanced my lab with transcranial Doppler ultrasonography and integrated continuous blood pressure measurements using Finapres.

In 2005, I moved to the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine (Dallas, TX, USA) to gain expertise in the techniques to measure dynamic cerebral autoregulation and vasomotor reactivity to CO2 (dr. R. Zhang and prof. B.D. Levine). I successfully applied these techniques to investigate brain perfusion changes associated with hypertension. In addition, I performed a pilot study to explore cerebrovascular changes in Alzheimer’s.

Upon my return to RUNMC in 2006, I set up an advanced hemodynamics lab, integrating blood pressure measurements, TCD and NIRS. I used this set-up to investigate cerebral autoregulation in Alzheimer disease. In the last years I have begun experiments to measure the effects of antihypertensive treatment on brain perfusion in older hypertensive patients. In addition, my lab is now studying the hemodynamic changes during cognitive activation in aging and in Alzheimer disease.

Achievements and Awards

2005 and 2006: visiting research scientist at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine and University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas TX USA.

2007:  Organized and chaired a symposium, entitled  “The metabolic syndrome and dementia”  at an international conference (American Geriatrics Society, Seattle, USA), with prof. Rudi Westendorp, prof. Lenore Launer, and dr. Stennis Watson. 

2007: Invited lecturer at UT Southwestern Medical Center (Grand Rounds Internal Medicine) in Dallas, USA.

2008: Invited lecturer at an international Masterclass with prof. Timo Erkinjunnti and prof. Philip Scheltens (Amsterdam) at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

2010: Organizer of  an International Masterclass on the interactions of exercise, vascular disease and cognition in the US, for an audience of neurologists and geriatricians who work in the field of dementia.

Since 2006, I am a regular reviewer, e.g. for Stroke, Archives of Neurology, Hypertension, JCBFM  Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Physiology, Journal of Applied Physiology.

Grants

2006: 80,000 euro grant from ISAO (International Foundation Alzheimer research) to investigate the cerebrovascular innervations of  the cholinergic system and to address the vascular effects of pharmacological treatment with cholinesterase-inhibitors in Alzheimer’s disease.

2008: 280,000 euro grant from the Netherlands Heart Foundation to investigate the cerebrovascular effects of blood pressure lowering treatment in older patients with hypertension.

2009: 100,000 euro grant from a private foundation (Stichting DEVON) to cover additional costs for the hypertension study.

2009: 100,000 euro grant from the Donders Centre for Neuroscience, for a translational research project together with dr. A. Kiliaan (neuroanatomy) on the interaction of blood pressure and brain perfusion in a mouse model of aging and AD.