Exploring Attitudes of Students in Montenegro Towards Alzheimer’s Dementia

The Alzheimer’s dementia questionnaire will be administered to the students of the University of Montenegro and the University of Donja Gorica though the social media. The goal of this study is to evaluate general knowledge and personal attitudes towards Alzheimer‘s dementia among the student population, to determine if there is a stigma in the society associated with this condition, and how much the personal life experience and educational background influence the opinions of people regarding this problem.

2nd Executive Board and International Advisory Board Meeting

DEMONSTRATE team members held the 2nd meeting of the Executive Board and International Advisory Board, on March 12th 2021. Due to travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting was organized in an online format. The logistics necessary for completing the following work packages was discussed:

WP 2.2 – Patient selection and recruitment, collection of clinical documentation and creation of databases

WP 3.1 – Collection of blood samples and isolation of total DNA, RNA and miRNA

WP 4.1 – Creation of the eye fundus photographs base

WP 4.2 – Digitalization of histological sections of CAC patients and formation of database

Bachelor of Science Thesis on Fractal Analysis

On March 2nd, 2021, Ivana Konatar, a student at the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica, Montenegro defended her BSc Thesis. The thesis title was: “Implementation of the Image Fractal Analysis by Using Python Programming Language.“

The thesis is a result of the work under the guidance of her mentor, dr Tomo Popovic, that already produced two conference papers, generated programming code and demonstrated its application in the analysis of retinal fundus images collected as a part of the project DEMONSTRATE.

Project Progress

DEMONSTRATE team has made significant progress on data and sample collection and is currently working on isolation of circulating micro-RNAs. The next important phase of the study has the objective to use the RT-qPCR approach to determine differences in expression patterns of selected micro-RNA species between the group of participants with colon cancer and normal cognitive function, and the group with cognitive impairment, but no history of cancer.

Confocal Microperimetry Introduced at the Clinical Center of Montenegro

The Clinical Center of Montenegro recently purchased a microperimeter MAIA (Macular Integrity Assessment) device from CenterVue. This device was purchased for the implementation of the clinical study RECOGNISED.

This diagnostic modality allows analysis of the structural and functional elements of retina by measuring sensitivity mapping and fixation analysis with fundus image in one exam. It is used to diagnose and follow the progression of pathological processes affecting the macular area.

The MAIA device has auto focus, it is quick, and simple to use, as it does not require pupil dilatation. Each eye can be examined in less than 3 minutes.

MAIA microperimeter

Most importantly, recent studies showed that in people with type 2 diabetes, retinal sensitivity assessed by microperimetry directly correlates with neurodegeneration of the brain. Therefore, this diagnostic method and could be used as a biomarker for detection of patients at risk for developing dementia.

PhD Research Proposal Defense

Dr. Isidora Rovčanin Dragović successfully presented her PhD thesis research proposal in front of the following Committee:

  • Miodrag Radunović, MD, PhD, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Montenegro
  • Nataša Popović, MD, PhD, Mentor, Associate Professor at the Department of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montenegro
  • Milica Martinović, MD, PhD, Co-mentor, Full Professor at the Department of Pathophysiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montenegro
  • Elka Stefanova, MD, PhD, Full Professor of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Serbia
  • Appolonia Tullo, PhD, Biomedical researcher at the Institute of Biomembranes and Bioenergetics, Bari, Italy

The title of the proposed research was: „ A New Method for Stratification of the Risk for Alzheimer‘s Disease in Patients in Montenegro“. This research is conducted as a part of the project DEMONSTRATE.

The PhD candidate demonstrated the competency on the subject, the potential for independent research, and passed the preliminary examination with an excellent grade.