CoSTREAM: A multidisciplinary approach to understand the link between stroke and Alzheimer’s

PI of the Swedish work package: Laura Fratiglioni,

People who have had a stroke often develop dementia – frequently Alzheimer’s disease. CoSTREAM aims to improve the understanding of the shared pathways and mechanisms behind the co-occurrence of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease to improve prevention and treatment of the two diseases.

CoSTREAM is a five-year European project that involves academic and industrial partners from seven countries. The project uses large data sets with up to 25 years of follow-up data on stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, including genetic, environmental, metabolic, and brain structural and functional information. Using these data, the partners will identify new molecular pathways underlying the co-occurrence of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The partners will then examine the relationship between these pathways and a) structural and functional pathology as seen on magnetic resonance imaging and b) molecular imaging biomarkers as seen on positron emission tomography. Finally, the project will develop an in vitro model (a model that exists outside the human body; for example, in a laboratory) of the site where the blood vessels and brain cells connect. This model will make it possible to better explore potential new molecular pathways and test the effect of possible drug treatments.

The Swedish work package integrates clinical data with information from physician and nurse interviews, positron emission tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and biological markers (e.g., genes and inflammatory markers). The research team, led by Professor Laura Fratiglioni, will use these data to investigate whether brain reserve (the ability to cope with brain changes without developing the symptoms of mental decline or dementia), accumulated via healthy behavior and lifestyle, can compensate for genetic and metabolic risks involved in stroke and subsequent Alzheimer’s disease.

CoStream is part of the European Union Horizon 2020 innovation programme. Partners include Erasmus University Medical Center, the European Institute for Biomedical Imaging Research, Institute Pasteur de Lille, Karolinska Institute, King’s College London, Leiden University, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munic, MIMETAS, the University of Bordeaux, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Geneva.