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
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.
An interesting article posted at MIT Technology Review portal: “If this controversial idea gains acceptance, it could radically change the way we treat getting old.” – Please click on this link to read the full article by David Adam.
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.
The Green Deal Call worth €1 billion has been launched on the 18th of September. The call is the last within the H2020 Programme and just ahead of the launch of Horizon Europe, the next research and innovation programme kicking-off in 2021. Read more at: link.
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.
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.
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
Project DEMONSTRATE team members from Montenegro organized an online conference on November 6th, 2020 in order to organize available facilities and resources, and plan activities for the 2nd year of the project in accordance with the changes related to COVID-19 pandemic.
DEMONSTRATE team members presented their research at the conference 14th World Congress on Controversies in Neurology – CONy 2020, held from October 29th to November 1st 2020. The poster titled “Improving the Diagnosis of Cognitive Impairment in Montenegro- on the Path of Learning” by Isidora Rovčanin Dragović, Ljiljana Radulović, Jevto Eraković, Miodrag Radunović, Goran Popivoda, Tijana Vuković and Nataša Popović was presented at the conference.
Due to on-going
developments with COVID-19 pandemic, this year the conference was
organized completely online.