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11 Feb | 2022

Oriol Grau, appointed head of the Clinical Research Group and in Risk Factors for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Dr. Oriol Grau has been appointed head of the Clinical Research and Risk Factors Group for Degenerative Diseases at the Barcelonaβeta Brain Research Center (BBRC). Under his leadership, the group will research healthy aging and the prevention of Alzheimer's disease.

A neurologist specializing in cognitive disorders, a researcher at the BBRC and a member of the Neurology Service of the Hospital del Mar, Dr. Grau will lead this work team after a long career at the BBRC, following the organization's commitment to internal talent and the development of researchers.

Prior to joining the BBRC, he was an adjunct physician in the Alzheimer's and Other Cognitive Disorders Unit of the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, ​​an adjunct physician in the Cognitive Disorders Unit of the Comprehensive Care Team of the Outpatient clinic at the Parc de Salut Mar in Barcelona, ​​and neurologist, researcher and coordinator of the donor program at the Bank of Neurological Tissues of the Biobank-Hospital Clínic-IDIBAPS.

His research focuses on the characterization of the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease, using biomarkers of imaging and biological fluids, and their relationship to the clinical changes that occur in this phase of the disease. He is the author of more than 50 publications in scientific journals and has recently developed a new line of research focusing on the study of sleep disorders as a risk factor and early manifestation of Alzheimer's disease.

The Clinical Research Group on Risk Factors for Neurodegenerative Diseases consists of a multidisciplinary team, which includes experts in clinical neurology, neurophysiology and neuropsychology.

The lines of research

The ultimate goal of this research team is to design effective preventative strategies. For this reason, research is globally aimed at understanding the biological and clinical changes that precede cognitive impairment caused by Alzheimer's disease, as well as studying how different factors such as sleep, dietary patterns or risk factors cardiovascular interact with brain structure and function, as well as with biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.

The main lines of research of the group will be:

  • “Sleep and Alzheimer’s disease”, where objective measures of sleep (actigraphy and polysomnography) will be used, to characterize its possible changes in the preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease and to understand how sleep disorders can generate a increased risk of cognitive impairment
  • "Subtle cognitive changes in the preclinical phase of Alzheimer's disease", which will characterize the initial cognitive changes of the disease, either by studying one's own perception of impairment (the so-called subjective cognitive impairment) or by neuropsychological tests more sensitive than those used so far, taking advantage of the advancement of information technologies.
  • "Nutrition and Alzheimer's disease", to investigate whether the intake of specific nutrients (such as omega-3 fatty acids) or adherence to certain dietary patterns (such as the Mediterranean diet) can help delay the onset of the disease. of Alzheimer's.
  • “Resources for dementia prevention”, in which it should be noted that, through the Barcelonaβeta Dementia Prevention Research Clinic, BBRC researchers have developed a pioneering experience to better understand whether to offer individualized risk estimates of dementia to people who perceive a cognitive impairment is safe from an emotional and psychological point of view and if there are benefits derived from the personalized plans received by these people.