News & Events

12 March 2024

Panel discussion 'Gender and the brain' organised by the Gender Equality Office under the patronage of H.R.H. The Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

Anja participated in an online panel discussion on the science related to ‘Gender and the brain’ on 6 March 2024. An interesting set of perspectives from anthropology, psychology, neuroscience, economics, and public health!

You can watch the recording here:

10 March 2024

News in late winter 2024

Anja is honoured to have been elected as Membre effectif of the Section des sciences naturelles, physiques et mathémathiques de l’Institut Grand-Ducal in March 2024.

Upcoming talks and lectures:

  • Anja will participate as a panelist in a panel discussion on advancing research assessment, organised by the FNR lecture series ‘Trends under review’ on 13 March 2024. See more here.
  • Anja is invited panelist at Harnessing AI in Health for Public Good, roundtable discussion organized by Apolitico and Health Canada, virtual, end of March 2024.
  • Anja will give a keynote entitled ‘Demenzprävention bei vulnerablen Gruppen’ (Dementia prevention in vulnerable groups) at the University of Applied Sciences Koblenz, International Week, in May 2024.

In April 2024, we will welcome visiting researcher Dr Lina Volodzkiene from the Lithuanian Energy Institute to speak about energy inequality and socioeconomic inequalities and challenges in the energy transition.

In June 2024, several members of the CRISP team will present their work at the Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

1 January 2024

New affiliated project IMILUX led by Dr Ana Carolina Santos

We congratulate Dr Ana Carolina Santos for having received a competitive CORE grant for her project IMILUX to investigate cognitive health and health disparities in older migrants in Luxembourg and beyond. The project starts on 1 January 2024.

Scientific abstract

Immigration is a phenomenon worldwide that may increase the risk of adverse emotional and health outcomes in vulnerable individuals such as older adults and those with limited socioeconomic resources. To promote health equity and identify individuals at risk, understanding the needs and factors associated with health in older immigrants is critical. The IMILUX will investigate socioeconomic, cultural, and health variables related to immigration and aging, using an integrated approach with data from different sources to provide holistic assessments of health in older immigrants in Luxembourg. The study aims to explore health disparities between older immigrants and non-immigrants, characterize their distress level, and explore heterogeneity in immigration experiences by stratifying different immigrant characteristics (first/second generation, immigration time, country of origin). Additionally, the study aims to identify singularities in health of older immigrants in Luxembourg by comparing it with Switzerland, which shares comparable characteristics such as the high UN Human Development Index and a high range of immigrants from similar nationalities. The study will adopt a mixed methodology with qualitative and quantitative analysis. The quantitative approach involves longitudinal multilevel analysis using the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) database of four waves (2013 – 2019/20), which assesses community-dwelling adults aged 50 years or older, in 20+ countries, including Luxembourg. The qualitative part will be realized through semi-structured interviews with 20 Portuguese-speaking immigrants living in Luxembourg. Our results will provide insights into the quantitative association of immigration with health over time and its socioeconomic determinants, while exploring the immigration experience, barriers, and enabling factors to social connectedness in the host country in a qualitative manner. The project findings will support development of policies that address the health needs of older immigrants in Luxembourg, ultimately promoting greater equity by improving health outcomes for the migrant population.

27 November 2023

Talk on dementia prevention in migrant communities at IKÖ-Fachtag Berlin, Germany

On 29 November 2023, Anja will give a talk on our findings in the CRISP and MEDITAGING projects at the German-language conference Interkulturelle Öffnung und Pflege (IKÖ)-Fachtag “Prävention in der Pflege und Vorsorge am Lebensende – auch für und mit Menschen mit Migrationsgeschichte”, Kooperationsveranstaltung der Fachstelle für pflegende Angehörige Berlin, der Zentralen Anlaufstelle Hospiz und der IG Vielfalt (virtually).


You can find the slides here.

15 November 2023

Symposium at the Gerontological Society of America Annual Meeting

On 8 November, 2023, Anja organized a symposium together with Graciela Muniz-Terrera at the Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America on ‘The Social Determinants of Brain Health’, to which several of the CRISP team members contributed. We were happy about the great turnout at the beginning of the conference and the interesting discussions!

11 July 2023

Activities in summer and fall 2023

If you don’t find us in Belval these days, we are attending several conferences and events:

We will be at AAIC in Amsterdam 16-20 July 2023, the globally largest conference on dementia hosted by the U.S. Alzheimer Association. Come and see the CRISP contributions!

  • Dr. Fabiana Ribeiro will present July 16, 9:15 am on the determinants of cognitive trajectories in lower educated older adults in a Featured Research Session
  • Dr. Anouk Geraets will present July 16 on the associations between SES, structural brain damage and connectivity and cognition (P1-02). She will also present July 18 our work on sex/gender and SES diffs in risk factors for dementia (P3-13)
  • Matthias Klee will present our work in the MCI-BIOMS project funded by the UL Institute for Advanced Studies and the European Research Council, on education and gut microbiome composition and MCI (P2-287), Depressive trajectories (P4-824)
  • Anja will be panelist at the Next Generation Brain Health Roundtable, July 18, over lunch in the exhibition hall

At AAIC, the Dutch government together with the World Dementia Council will present a series of essays on dementia, to which Anja has contributed.

Anja will attend a panel discussion on research excellence organised by the Association of ERC Grantees, 22 September 2023 in Genoa, as part of her new role as Special Adviser to the Rectorate on ‘Research Assessment’.

Anja will attend the ‘Defeating Dementia’ event organised by the Dutch Government and the World Dementia Council, 2 October 2023 in The Hague.

27 June 2023

Department of Social Sciences Lecture Series

We recently hosted Prof. Miharu Nakanishi, Associate Professor of Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine.

Prof. Nakanishi is currently working for the European Association for Palliative Care task force advance care planning in dementia, and a visiting researcher at Leiden University Medical Center from June 2023 until March 2024.

Prof. Nakanishi gave a talk on ‘Dementia care in primary care: A cross-country system development to encourage direct care workers to provide personalized care to people living with dementia’.

16 June 2023

Vortrag zu Demenzprävention (Talk on dementia prevention)

Anja gave a talk on dementia prevention at the conference of the National Alzheimer Association (association luxembourg alzheimer) on 16th of June 2023, in German language. You can find the slides here.

29 March 2023

Presentation in the UniTalk series

Anja recently gave a talk in the UniTalk series ‘Women in Science’. The presentation covered the following topics:

  • What are modifiable risk factors for cognitive aging and dementia;
  • How can we reduce risk of dementia by adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours;
  • How social determinants of health, such as socioeconomic conditions as well as sex/gender, interact with these modifiable risk factors.

You can find the slides here.

20 May 2023

Run for Dementia Prevention @ the ING Marathon!

Very proud of my team to participate in the ING Marathon and run to increase awareness for dementia prevention!

Well done Anouk Geraets, Ana Carolina Teixeira Santos, Jung Hyun Kim, Matthias Klee and Jure Mur!

20 March 2023

World Dementia Council Summit London

The World Dementia Council hosted a great summit at the Crick Institute in London, with several panel discussions on dementia in a new era of medical treatment. Anja was a panellist in the discussion on ‘Dementia in a new era: prevent, diagnose, treat’.

From the World Dementia Council website:

This was the first of three meetings taking place this year. The second is a side event of G7 health ministerial meeting in Japan. In October the Netherlands Government are organising a high-level meeting on dementia.

The theme of this first meeting was “dementia in a new era, prevent, diagnose, treat”. For decades Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia have been poorly diagnosed, with a large number of misdiagnosed individuals and many more undiagnosed, and untreatable. While we have been able to manage symptoms, we have been unable to change the trajectory of the disease. All that is now beginning to change. Change won’t happen overnight, but the decade ahead will be different from every decade that has gone before, and as the years roll out increasingly so. These changes will throw up new challenges for how we diagnose patients, how we deliver and pay for treatments and how health systems provide support and care. We want across the day to explore those questions. But as in other disease areas, the companion to treatment is prevention and we want to explore the role of prevention interventions in future health management. The meeting was chaired by Philip Scheltens Professor of Cognitive Neurology and Director Alzheimer Center, University of Amsterdam Medical Centers Chair, World Dementia Council. Transcrips from the meeting will be published in the next few week.



Read more here.

15 March 2023


We were very happy to host the BRAINHEALTH-POLICY workshop funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies on March 2 and 3, 2023 in Belval. After inspiring discussions, we are now writing up our ideas on how policymaking can support brain health across the life course. More to come!

6 March 2023

Socioeconomics, genetic risk, and incident dementia

Our study on area-level and individual-level socioeconomic deprivation, genetic risk for developing dementia, and incident dementia in the UK Biobank is now published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

See the press release of the University of Luxembourg here. Congratulations to first author Matthias Klee who is a doctoral researcher in the CRISP project.

1 March 2023


We are looking forward to hosting a BRAINSTORM workshop by the University of Luxembourg’s Institute for Advanced Studies! Please find more information about the upcoming workshop below. Co-PIs Profs. Anja Leist and Skerdi Zanaj, and Dr. Ariane Bertogg organize the workshop.

On the picture, from the left: Anouk Geraets, Ana Carolina Teixeira Santos, Matthias Klee, Jung Hyun Kim, Anja Leist, Fabiana Ribeiro, Melissa Chan, Jure Mur.

Workshop abstract

Background. Policymakers increasingly recognize the importance of brain health, broadly defined as ‘preservation of optimal brain integrity and mental and cognitive function at a given age in the absence of overt brain diseases that affect normal brain function’ (Wang et al., 2020) for the capacity of societies’ functioning: (1) Individuals have to manage and navigate increasingly complex and digital environments in private life, political participation, and professional careers; (2) It is vital to delay later-life cognitive impairment, as it is a heavy burden for affected individuals and their families, as well as costly for welfare states and healthcare systems. Concurrently, population health research on risk factors for dementia and cognitive decline has identified a number of individual-level lifestyle and health behaviours, as well as contextual – i.e., policy-driven – determinants (related to human development, economic conditions, or educational opportunities) influencing brain health in the short, medium, and long run.

Research objectives and methods. We aim to convene a workshop to: (1) Build a conceptual framework and systematise hypothesised policy impacts on the under-researched links between policymaking and brain health, including a life-course and equity perspective; (2) Taking stock of the evidence with regard to relevant policy levels (regional, national, supranational) and policy fields – related to education, public health, work, retirement, possibly also migration, youth, environmental policies – and possible interdependencies that could, through different pathways, influence brain health; and (3) Set up a future research agenda to develop the (under-researched) evidence with regard to methods, relevant actual and future datasets, and specific areas of interest, e.g., equity, life course. These objectives will be achieved through preparation of the workshop via a concept note, moderated discussions and break-out groups, and post-workshop writing up of a framework paper on policy impacts on brain health.

Proposed outcomes. This interdisciplinary workshop, convening renowned and next-generation research leaders in population brain health, policy, neurology, life course, and gender, will open up new research avenues at the frontiers of knowledge to achieve research excellence through (1) advancing state of the art in brain health research and (2) educating the next generation of researchers.

15 February 2023

New project affiliated with ERC CRISP

We are happy to welcome Ms. Melissa Chan to the IRSEI institute!

Melissa joined us in February 2023. She will work with Prof. Anja Leist on raising awareness on the importance of brain health at the workplace. Melissa’s work focuses on equity in brain health and she works collaboratively with tri-sector partners (business, government and nonprofits) in health and social care to lead service design, innovation, and growth projects. She has led multiple initiatives in Singapore related to care and support delivery for dementia, including a national platform to facilitate the safe return of people living with dementia. She recently completed her fellowship with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI), Trinity College Dublin, in September 2022.

15 February 2023

New visiting researcher

Jure Mur is a visiting researcher from the University of Edinburgh from February until June 2023. He is interested in environmental factors throughout the life course that affect healthy ageing or the risk of disease in older age. He completed his PhD in translational neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh. You can find more about his career and publications here. Welcome Jure to the group!

22 December 2022

Congratulations to the awardees of the Excellent Thesis Award of the University of Luxembourg!

We are very happy that Dr Katherine Ford and Dr Ivana Paccoud have both won the Excellent Thesis Award 2022 of the University of Luxembourg! Both researchers were affiliated with Anja’s lab and graduated in May and June, respectively.

Dr Katherine Ford’s thesis is entitled ‘Educational and Occupational Differentials in Cognition: Examining the Role of Gender using Population-Based Studies’ (here). She is now postdoctoral researcher at Carleton University, Canada.

Dr Ivana Paccoud’s thesis is entitled ‘Is universal healthcare truly universal? Socioeconomic and migrant inequalities in healthcare’ (here). She is now postdoctoral researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Health.

Congratulations to all awardees!

26 August 2022

Our research on cognitive ageing with Latin American data presented at the AAIC

Fabiana Ribeiro, postdoctoral researcher in the CRISP project, led two studies that we presented at the AAIC:

  • Risk and protective factors for cognitive decline in lower educated older adults with 15-year follow-up Fabiana Silva Ribeiro, PhD, Anja K. Leist, PhD
  • Why should we discuss gender inequalities in Latin America and their effects in later life? Fabiana Silva Ribeiro, PhD, Anja K. Leist, PhD
2 August 2022

Our paper on 'Socioeconomic deprivation, genetic risk and risk of dementia' was featured at the largest global dementia conference AAIC in San Diego, CA, in August 2022

Matthias Klee, first author of the study currently under review, is a doctoral researcher in Psychology working in the CRISP project at the University of Luxembourg.

People who experience high socioeconomic deprivation are significantly more likely to develop dementia compared to people of better socioeconomic status, according to our research.

Our largescale study presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in San Diego examined data from data from 196,368 participants’ records in UK Biobank whose genetic risk for developing dementia was assessed.

We investigated the contribution of individual socioeconomic deprivation, such as low income and low wealth. We also looked at area-level socioeconomic deprivation, including rates of employment status, and rates of people who owned a car or home. We calculated risk of developing dementia, and compared these with genetic risk for dementia.

We found that deprivation, both linked to socioeconomic conditions of households and at area level, contributed to risk of dementia. The increased risk was particularly associated with people living in very disadvantaged neighbourhoods.

For participants with moderate or high genetic risk, living in a very deprived area is associated with even higher risk for developing dementia, even after adjusting for socioeconomic conditions in individual households.

Some participants had brain imaging data available. This indicated that socioeconomic deprivation both on the individual and the area level were linked to more damage to nerve fibres called white-matter, which enables communication between different areas of the brain.

Dt David Llewellyn, of the University of Exeter, said: “We have already established that people living in poverty and in deprived areas are more likely to develop dementia. Our new findings clarify the relationship between these environmental risk factors and people’s genetic makeup. Most cases of dementia are not inevitable, and we should be optimistic about the possibility of delaying or even preventing dementia altogether.”

“Our findings point to the importance of the conditions in which people live, work and age for their risk of developing dementia, particularly those who are already genetically more vulnerable,” said Matthias Klee, doctoral student at the University of Luxembourg and lead author of the study.

“Both individual health behaviors and non-influenceable living conditions are relevant to explain risk of dementia, regardless of genetic vulnerability. This knowledge opens new opportunities to reduce the number of people affected by dementia not only through public health interventions but also by improving socioeconomic conditions through policymaking.”

See the full press release by AAIC here. You can find more information about this study here.

10 June 2022

Our symposium at the Nordic Congress of Gerontology, Odense

So great we had the chance to meet with colleagues at the NKG in Odense, Denmark! The CRISP team presented in the symposium ‘Contextual and social determinants of cognitive ageing and dementia‘. Dr Nika Seblova from Columbia University joined us:
  1. Experiences of everyday discrimination and memory in ethnically/racially diverse middle-age Americans Dominika Seblova, PhD, Columbia University Medical Center
  2. Does (re-)entering the labor market at advanced ages protect against cognitive decline? Jung Hyun Kim, University of Luxembourg
  3. Country-level variation in dementia prevalence in Europe: A comparison of World Alzheimer Report and SHARE data Matthias Klee, University of Luxembourg
  4. Why should we discuss gender inequalities in Latin America and their effects in later life?  Fabiana Silva Ribeiro, PhD, University of Luxembourg
16 May 2022

Institute for Advanced Studies grant MCI-BIOME

Our project ‘The relationship between socioeconomic status and the gut microbiome in mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as a risk for dementia’ (MCI-BIOME) received 400,000 EUR.
  • The project is co-directed by Prof. Paul Wilmes, Rejko Krüger, and Anja Leist, and funded by the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) of the University of Luxembourg, running for four years
  • You can find more about our project here
  • The IAS held an interdisciplinary event in November 2021, and videos have just been released. You can find all videos here, and Anja’s interview here
12 May 2022

News in spring 2022...

We are hiring! Job announcement for a postdoc position in the CRISP project on Modifiable risk factors and inequalities in cognitive ageing. Follow the link or go to the Jobs page of the University of Luxembourg.

Several PhD candidates in the Social Sciences will finalise their projects in spring 2022 and we have been proud to support and mentor them.

New projects are being developed in the area of brain health. Not only have we joined renowned consortia to develop new ideas on dementia prevention, but we are currently also exploring pathways to support promotion of brain health at the workplace, with our fantastic collaborator and friend Melissa Chan. Please get in touch for more information!

22 April 2022

PhD defenses in spring 2022

We are excited about two PhD candidates affiliated with CRISP defending their theses in spring 2022!

  • Katherine Ford will present and defend her thesis Educational and occupational differentials in cognition: Examining the role of gender using population-based studies‘ on 19th of May 2022. External experts will be Prof. Graciela Muniz-Terrera (U Edinburgh) and Prof. David Batty (UCL London). Kate is currently on a research stay at U Ottawa with Dr Annie Robitaille
  • Ivana Paccoud will present and defend her thesis ‘Is universal healthcare truly universal? Socioeconomic and migrant inequalities in healthcare‘ on 3rd of June 2022. External experts will be Prof. James Nazroo (U Manchester) and Prof. Thomas Abel (U Bern).
22 April 2022

Conferences in spring and summer 2022

If you don’t find us in Belval this spring, we are…
  • At the RC28 spring meeting in London: Dr Ariane Bertogg will present our paper ‘Gendered Life Courses and Cognitive Functioning in Later Life: The Role of Gender Norms and Employment Biographies‘ in April 2022
  • At the University of Basel: The Institute for Biomedical Ethics has invited Anja to give a talk on ‘Machine learning in Public Health: Relevant applications for ageing populations‘ end of April 2022. You can find her slides here, and the slides from her talk in November 2021 here.
  • At the Nordic Congress of Gerontology 26NKG in Odense, Denmark: Anja will chair a symposium on ‘Contextual and social determinants of cognitive ageing and dementia in June 2022, with Jung Hyun Kim, Dr Fabiana Ribeiro and Matthias Klee all participating and presenting their research. Dr Dominika Seblova, Columbia University, and Prof. Graciela Muniz-Terrera, University of Edinburgh, will also participate in the symposium. Dr Ana Carolina Teixeira Santos will present a poster on ‘Systematic-review on the effects of mindfulness-based interventions in cognitive measures in on older adults
  • At AAIC in San Diego: Jung Hyun Kim, Matthias Klee and Dr Fabiana Ribeiro will present CRISP research at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in San Diego
  • At the European Health Economics (EUHEA) Conference in Oslo, Norway in July 2022, where Jung Hyun Kim will present her paper 1, co-authored with Anja and Prof. Graciela Muniz-Terrera – congratulations!
  • Dr Jason Settels, as lead author, and Anja have co-authored a paper on inequalities in missed healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, which has just been accepted at the Journal of Aging & Health. Jason has also been accepted to present the paper at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in August 2022, congratulations!

Anja also participated in the World Dementia Council Summit in London on 28 March 2022 and will give a talk at the Global Brain Health Institute at Trinity College Dublin in July 2022.

28 July 2021

Visiting researcher

We are very happy that Dr Ariane Bertogg, postdoctoral researcher at the University Konstanz, has won the ‘Wissenschaftspreis der Werner und Erika Messmer-Stiftung‘, congratulations!
Ariane will use part of the funds that come with this prize for a research visit to Anja’s research group. Anja and Ariane have recently published the paper ‘Partnership and Cognitive Aging in Europe: Mediating Factors and Social Stratification‘ in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences. During Ariane’s research stay at the University of Luxembourg, she will investigate the impact of contextual-level gender inequalities on gender differences in later-life brain health.
You can find more about Ariane’s research here.
5 July 2021

Visiting researcher

Dr Anouk Geraets will join the Department of Social Sciences as a visiting Post-doc from Maastricht University in July 2021 for a period of 3 months. Her research interests comprise biological causes of psychopathology, healthy aging, and epidemiology. Within Anja’s research group, Anouk will investigate the influence of lifestyle factors on the association between depression and incident dementia by use of data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA). Anouk completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology about biological determinants of depression in July 2021 at the Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology and the Department of Internal Medicine, Maastricht University, The Netherlands.
Update at the end of 2021: We congratulate Anouk to her new position in the Health Behavior in School Children project at our Department!
1 July 2021

Affiliated researcher

Dr Ana Carolina Teixeira Santos joined the Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI) as a postdoc research associate in July 2021. Her main research interests are related to the use of non-pharmacological interventions in the promotion of successful aging, specially focusing on cognitive training, non-invasive brain stimulation, and mindfulness. She is also interested in the neurophysiological correlates of cognitive aging and neuroplasticity. She holds a PhD in Basic Psychology from the University of Minho/Portugal (June 2020). Ana Carolina will carry out the MEDITAGING Project (sponsored by the FNR/Industrial Fellowship), collaboratively with Professor Anja Leist and Dr. Jean-Paul Steinmetz/ZithaSenior. The main aim of MEDITAGING is to explore the effects of the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) program on cognitive functions and cortisol levels in Portuguese older adults residing in Luxembourg.
2 July 2021

More news in summer 2021

Research Group Manual

  • Anja has written a research group manual on the expectations in her research group on the team members and herself, the #OpenScience and other policies to adhere to, including co-authorship guidelines and training resources. With thanks to Mariam Aly, whose lab manual served as inspiration. It is regularly updated by the research group – and seems to fill a gap perceived by many PIs! Please get in touch if you would like to use the manual as a template for your own research group manual.

New papers

See the publications page for more information on

  • A new preprint, a mapping of common research questions in the social and health sciences to #MachineLearning approaches:
  • Our study on inequality of educational opportunity at time of schooling and later-life cognitive functioning in Social Science & Medicine – Population Health:
  • Before the CRISP project, Anja served as country expert on health politics in Luxembourg in the Norface HealthDOX project. Anja’s chapter on Health politics in Luxembourg in Ellen Immergut et al.’s Health Politics in Europe Handbook is now published.
  • Non-CRISP research related to COVID-19: Our work on the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in a population-representative sample of Luxembourg is in press at Psychiatry Researchfull-text link to follow soon! Our paper on anxiety and depression in a Brazilian sample has been published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health here.


We will be present at the 2021 AAIC (Denver, CO, and virtual) end of July 2021:

  • Matthias Klee will present a poster on ‘Investigating the associations of trajectories of depressive symptoms and self-perceived health and incident dementia – an unsupervised machine learning approach’
  • Fabiana Ribeiro will present a poster on ‘Prevalence of dementia among elderly in Latin America and the Caribbean: a systematic review and meta-analysis’

We will be presenting our research at the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Gerontological Society of America (Phoenix, AZ, and virtual) in November 2021:

  • Fabiana Ribeiro will present the paper ‘Prevalence of dementia among elderly in Latin America and the Caribbean: a systematic review and meta-analysis’
  • Katherine Ford will present the paper ‘Education, occupation, and the cognitive performance distribution of South Korean older adults’
  • Matthias Klee will present the paper ‘Investigating sequential and simultaneous changes in trajectories of cognitive decline and depressive symptoms’
  • Jung Hyun Kim will present the paper ‘Temporal trends in the prevalence of dementia in South Korea’

We have also applied to present research of the group at the 2021 Alzheimer Europe conference (virtual) end of November 2021.

May 2021

News in the CRISP project

  • In February, Ms Jung Hyun Kim joined the CRISP team. Jung Hyun will work with datasets from aging surveys in South Korea, the UK, and other countries, to understand how life changes (in behavior, health, the transition to retirement etc.) will affect the course of cognitive ageing. Welcome Jung Hyun!
  • Anja will chair a symposium at the Nordic Congress of Gerontology (NKG 25) entitled ‘Contextual and Life-course Determinants of Later-life Cognitive Functioning and Dementia’. Co-chair is Graciela Muniz-Terrera from the University of Edinburgh. Speakers are Graciela Muniz-Terrera, Anja Leist, Dominika (Nika) Seblova, Pavla Cermakova, and Tom Russ.
  • Anja will present a paper jointly written with Eyal Bar-Haim and Louis Chauvel on ‘Inequality of educational opportunity at time of schooling predicts cognitive functioning in later adulthood’ at the Population Association of America Meeting in May, and at the Nordic Congress of Gerontology and the RC28 Spring Meeting in June (all virtual).
  • Matthias Klee, doctoral student in the CRISP team, has been accepted to present his findings ‘Investigating the associations of trajectories of depressive symptoms and self-perceived health and incident dementia – an unsupervised machine learning approach’ at the Alzheimer Association International Conference (AAIC), in July 2021. Congratulations Matthias!
  • Katherine Ford, doctoral student of Anja, has published her second paper for the PhD thesis in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine, entitled ‘Returns to Educational and Occupational Attainment in Cognitive Performance for Middle-Aged South Korean Men and Women’. Congratulations Kate!
  • Anja will teach in two summer schools of the Venice International University doctoral programme (here and here). Please get in touch for more information on the lectures:
    • Inequalities in and epidemiology of ageing
    • Inequalities in health and well-being at older ages
    • The vulnerability dilemma: Consequences of the pandemic and pandemic control measures on older people
22 February 2021

Older people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Anja was recently interviewed on the situation on nursing homes during the pandemic.

People in need of care are already particularly vulnerable due to their functional limitations – all the more so in a pandemic, where social distancing measures pose major threats to cognitive abilities. Expert working groups are needed to find the right balance between the pandemic restrictions and ensuring human rights of older nursing home residents.

See the interview in German language here.

Screenshot_2021-02-24 Optimale Altenpflege in Pandemie-Zeiten
December 2020

Research in the CRISP project

The National Research Fund Luxembourg (FNR) has published an overview of my research in a series on ERC grant holders in Luxembourg. The text is based on the research during the first year of the CRISP project.

You can find the overview in German language, published in the Luxemburger Wort in March 2021, here.

Infographic (c) Ikonaut.

December 2020

Some related events and resources

During summer and fall 2020, we had several projects and events closely related to the work on the CRISP project. Click on the links for further information.

  • Radio 100komma7 hosted a discussion on vulnerability of older adults, particularly those living with dementia and living in care homes. It was aired on 28th of November. Anja commented on the current situation in LU from a psychological perspective. Find a summary of the discussion (EN) and a link to the podcast (LU/DE) here.
  • The H2020 funded SAPHIRe project hosted a workshop on the access to health data (29 October 2020). Find Anja’s recording on the patients’ perspective here.
  • Anja teaches in the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences on the topics Health Inequalities, Epidemiology of Ageing, Cognitive Ageing and Dementia, Inequalities in Ageing, and Vulnerability in a Pandemic. Find the slides and recordings here.
  • Anja is member of the executive committee of the CON-VINCE study in Luxembourg. Find an interview on her research on the psychological impact of the confinement measures in older adults during spring 2020 here.
November 2020

Past and upcoming conferences

We have presented two ongoing paper projects at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) (held virtually) on 27-31 July 2020, Using cohort data to emulate lifestyle interventions: Long-term beneficial effects of initiating physical activity on cognitive decline and dementia (Anja Leist, Graciela Muniz-Terrera, and Alina Solomon), and Prevalence of memory impairment in Sao Paolo, Brazil, 2000-2015 (Fabiana Ribeiro, Yeda Aparecida de Oliveira Duarte, Jair Lício Ferreira Santos, and Anja Leist).

Ariane Bertogg presented our paper Partnership Transitions and Cognitive Functioning among the European 50+ at the 18th Meeting of the European Network for the Sociological and Demographic Study of Divorce (held virtually), 14-16 October 2020, and will present this paper also at the International Sociological Association’s RC28 Spring Meeting in Turku (postponed to June 2-4, 2021).

We were at the GSA Annual Meeting (held virtually), 4-6 November 2020:

  • Jason Settels presented our paper Changes in Neighborhood-Level Socioeconomic Disadvantage and Older Americans’ Cognitive Functioning
  • Fabiana Ribeiro presented our late-breaker poster on the Prevalence of Mild Cognitive Impairment in Latin America and the Caribbean: A systematic review
  • Anja Leist discussed our late-breaker poster on the Mental health impact of the confinement measures during the COVID-19 pandemic in Luxembourg (CON-VINCE study; poster co-authored with Claire Pauly, Valerie Schröder, Laure Pauly and Rejko Krüger)

We  have been accepted to present at the Population Association of America Meeting in May 2021, and are planning to attend the NKG21, the GSA Annual Meeting 2021, and others.

In the Press

Revue, 4 March 2020

Of astronauts and make-up (Von Astronauten and Make-up)

The Revue cover story is written in German language.

Anja Leist talks about the gender bias in academia, and how educational and gender inequalities are connected to dementia. The CRISP team investigates these and other risk factors of dementia.

Gender equality can contribute to explaining gender differences in cognitive ageing, because women who received equal opportunities as men in their working life and in education perform better on cognitive tests.

The CRISP team further compares the educational systems of different countries. Years of education and quality of education both play important roles for cognitive performance. The more education and thus, cognitive stimulation, children and adolescents receive, the higher the potential to build up cognitive reserve, which can delay the development of dementia. The CRISP team compared different European countries at different points in time. Equality of educational opportunity, the extent to which children from more and less advantaged parental backgrounds receive schooling that is matched to their abilities, was positively linked to cognitive performance at older ages.

Anja also gives some background on dementia. It is a disease that is common around the world, and with population ageing, more and more people will be affected. In the absence of a cure, we need to prevent the development of dementia. The FINGER-trial gives first promising results (published by Ngandu, Kivipelto and others in Lancet in 2015). With a mix of intensive coaching (diet, cognitive training, and sport), cognitive decline was slowed down over two years. The CRISP project contributes to understanding better which lifestyle changes help most to reduce dementia risk.

Télécran, 12 October 2019

Dementia (Demenz. Der Schlüssel zur inneren Welt)

The article in German language describes the challenges that families and caregivers of people living with dementia face, and presents national activities and expertise in dementia. It is the first to report the outcomes of the first Dementia Research Forum of the CRISP project in September 2019. At the Dementia Research Forum, persons living with dementia, close relatives and professionals in the healthcare sector were invited to the university campus, learned about the research project and gave recommendations on the research and dissemination of research findings.

Letzebuerger Journal, 20 August 2019

Risk factors of dementia (Des racines énigmatiques)

The article in French language highlights some of the known risk factors of dementia and presents the objective of the ERC-CRISP project to understand better which behavior changes can reduce risk of dementia.

Radio 100.7, 19 October 2018

An ERC award for Anja Leist (En ERC grant fir'd Anja Leist)

A radio interview in German language on the objectives of the ERC-CRISP

Wort, 28 February 2019

Fighting memory loss (Kampf gegen das Vergessen)

An article about the ERC-CRISP project in German language with a call for participation for persons living with dementia.

Wort, 11 March 2017

Workshops in Lycée Belval: "Don't confine persons living with dementia" ("Menschen mit Demenz soll man nicht einsperren")

The article in German language on an earlier outreach activity presents one of the dementia awareness workshop for school pupils in a Lycée technique in Luxembourg. Find more information in English language here.



March 2020

Research visit by Australian collaborator

Janet Maccora is an Australian PhD candidate affiliated with Neuroscience Research Australia and the University of New South Wales. She has a background in epidemiology and her research interest is in the protective association between education and dementia. While working with the ERC-CRISP Cognitive Ageing project team, Janet would like to explore gender and cultural differences in the association between education and dementia, using large cross-cultural datasets such as the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE).  Her two-month research stay is funded by a travel scholarship from the Australian Research Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR).

Forget me not flower in the close up view
Esch-sur-Alzette, 19-20 September 2019

Dementia Research Forum

On 19 and 20 September 2019, the first Dementia Research Forum took place on the Belval campus. Persons living with dementia were invited to the university to discuss the research questions of the CRISP project with the PI and to advise on the research and dissemination of the research results. As relatives and caregivers of persons living with dementia also showed interest in the event, a second day was added to the event where close relatives of a person who lives or had lived with dementia were invited. The participants had the opportunity to bring along accompanying persons.

The idea of giving people affected by dementia a voice in research projects is already being successfully implemented in other countries such as the UK. In fact, a common saying by dementia advocates is “Nothing about us without us”. Most importantly, people with dementia from their viewpoint as experts in the disease – after all, they live with it – should advise us researchers on how to do better research and better explain our research results to the public. People living with dementia should be given the opportunity to influence research by giving input to which factors they think more knowledge is needed about.

See the report in French, German and English language here. See a magazine article about some of the outcomes of the Dementia Research Forum here.