Demographic Studies

Prof. Dr. Gabriele Doblhammer

Group news


PHDS Annual Academy at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research

This year's Annual Academy of the IMPRS-PHDS PhD School at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research took place from December 13 to 15. It was Elena Rakusa's third Annual Academy. In one of the numerous poster sessions, she was able to discuss her research on "Is dementia predictive of palliative care? Uncovering patient patterns in palliative care with a focus on dementia using German claims data". It was the second Annual Academy for Anna-Victoria Holtz. With her poster on "Heterogeneity in Multimorbidity and Dementia Trajectories in Old Age in Germany - A Study Based on Health Claims Data", she also came into contact with other researchers.

Wittgenstein Center Conference in Vienna, Austria

The Wittgenstein Centre Conference on "Exploring Population Heterogeneities" took place for two days from December 6 to 7 in the main building of the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna. Anna-Victoria Holtz had the opportunity to speak in a poster session about her ongoing research in cooperation with scientists from the Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics (CED, Barcelona) on the topic "Heterogeneity in Multimorbidity and Dementia Trajectories in Old Age in Germany".

18th Annual Conference of the DGEpi at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

From September 26 to 28, Anne Fink, Constantin Reinke, Helene Schulz, Elena Rakusa and Anna-Victoria Holtz traveled to Würzburg (Julius-Maximilians-Universität) for the 18th Annual Meeting of the German Society for Epidemiology. Our research group gave a total of 5 presentations in 5 different working groups:

  • Anne Fink: Moderiert körperliche Aktivität den Zusammenhang zwischen systemischer Entzündung und kognitiver Leistung? (AG Epidemiologie des Alterns)
  • Constantin Reinke: Mediiert Diabetes den Zusammenhang zwischen Bildung und kognitiven Fähigkeiten? (AG Epidemiologie der Herzkreislauf- und Stoffwechselerkrankungen)
  • Helene Schulz: Kataraktbedingte Erblindung bei Kindern in Afrika: Teilnahme an der Nachsorgeuntersuchung und Ergebnis der Sehschärfe nach Kataraktoperationen in Kinshasa in den Jahren 2001-2021 (AG Pädiatrische Epidemiologie)
  • Elena Rakusa: Ist Demenz prädiktiv für Palliativversorgung? Patientenmuster in der Palliativversorgung mit Schwerpunkt Demenz (AG Erhebung und Nutzung von Sekundärdaten (AGENS))
  • Anna-Victoria Holtz: Ein Zusammenhang zwischen Koloskopien und Parkinson? Eine Event-History-Analyse auf Basis von deutschen Krankenkassendaten (AG Neurologische und Psychiatrische Epidemiologie)

Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) 2023 in Amsterdam, Netherlands


Anne Fink, Constantin Reinke and Elena Rakusa went to Amsterdam for the AAIC this summer from July 16 to 20. The AAIC is the world's largest and most influential conference dedicated exclusively to dementia research. Constantin Reinke gave a presentation in the session "Metabolic and systemic diseases: Associations with dementia and cognition" on "The mediating effect of Diabetes on the relationship between education and cognitive function", while Anne Fink gave two poster presentations on the topics "Can physical activity moderate the relation between systemic inflammation and cognitive performance in an elderly community dwelling population? " and "The impact of gender-specific survival on the incidence of dementia in Parkinson's disease - A cohort analysis of Parkinson's disease patients in German health claims data for the years 2006 to 2017 ". Elena Rakusa was also able to present a poster in the session "Public Health: Health Service Research" on the topic "Is a Dementia Diagnosis Predictive for Palliative Care? A Machine Learning Approach".

CURE-ND Workshop in Leuven, Belgium

From March 20 to 22, the second CURE-ND workshop took place in Leuven (Belgium). The CURE-ND (Catalysing a United Response in Europe to Neurodegenerative Diseases) workshop for early-career scientists is organized by an alliance of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, the Paris Brain Institute (France), Mission Lucidity (Belgium) and the UK Dementia Research Institute (United Kingdom). Our doctoral students Elena Rakusa and Anna-Victoria Holtz were able to take the opportunity to discuss their own research with other young international scientists during the poster sessions: Elena Rakusa presented a poster on "Is a Dementia Diagnosis Predictive for Palliative Care? A Machine Learning Approach" and Anna-Victoria Holtz presented a poster on "An association between colonoscopy and Parkinson's disease? An event history analysis of German health claims data from 2006 to 2018".

Annual conference of the German Demographic Society (DGD) at the University of Koblenz

In spring, Anna-Victoria Holtz traveled to Koblenz for the annual conference of the German Demographic Society on "Regional Population Trends in Germany and Europe. Causes and Consequences" in Koblenz (March 15-17, 2023). In the session "Morbidität und Mortalität", Anna-Victoria Holtz gave a presentation on "Trends in der Gesundheitserwartung in Schweden im Alter 50 von 2004 bis 2017".

Research stay in Barcelona

Group leader Gabriele Doblhammer spent the second part of her research stay from February 6 to March 16 in Barcelona at the Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics, CED, and the Institute for Global Health, IsGlobal. The CED  is one of the leading demography institutes in Europe, while the ISGlobal is an internationally renowned institute for public health with a research focus on the relationship between global warming, emissions, morbidity and mortality. On February 16, Gabriele Doblhammer gave a lecture on "Health, Dementia and Cognitive Decline in Aging Populations - how can Demographic Research help to meet these Challenges?" at the CED, which was met with great interest and led to intensive discussions. If you would like to know more about Gabriele Doblhammer's research stay in Barcelona, visit her blog, where she has recorded everything important about the trip:


PHDS Annual Academy

On December 12-14, 2022, the two PhD students Elena Rakuša and Anna-Victoria Holtz, participated in the annual PhD School, of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. A big part of the event was the presentation and exchange about the research work done. As part of this, Elena presented her work with the help of a poster. The topic of her project is "Health care utilization of dementia and cancer patients at the end of life", for which she used health insurance data. Anna presented her work on "Predicting neurodegenerative disease risk: Individual and Contextual Factors" in more detail through a presentation. However, the three days were also dedicated to getting to know each other. This took place in the form of group dialogues and other opportunities for discussion. In addition, the PhD students were provided with important information on how to obtain jobs and research stays abroad.

Research stay in Australien/Canberra

On November 1, 2022, group leader Gabriele Doblhammer set off from Vienna to Australia. The capital Canberra was her new home for 1.5 months. She used the first few days to get used to her new surroundings and to explore Sydney and Canberra. Her temporary workplace was the Research School of Social Sciences (RSSS) in building 146 of the Australian National University. At the School of Demography, she met new and familiar faces. She used her time there to present herself and her work, but also to network in order to develop new and exciting collaborations. Attending conferences and workshops helped her gain new information. Social activities such as hiking and decorating the Christmas tree together were not neglected either. If you want to know more about Gabriele's stay in Australia, visit her blog, where she has recorded everything important about the trip:

Award and link to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

The article "Long-term exposure to fine particulate matter, lung function and cognitive performance: A prospective Dutch cohort study on the underlying routes" by Benjamin Aretz, Fanny Janssen, Judith M. Vonk, Michael T. Heneka, H. Marike Boezen, and Gabriele Doblhammer of 2021 is one of Elsevier's most downloaded publications with its 2642 views. Because of this, the article was honored during the Open Access Week 2022. Benjamin Aretz is doing his doctorate at the Institute for Sociology and Demography at the University of Rostock. Gabriele Doblhammer is the chair holder of empirical social research and demography at this institute. She is also head of the research group on demographic studies at the DZNE. The publishers' work contributes greatly to open-access science, which is why the article was linked to the UN's third Sustainable Development Goal. The third Sustainable Development Goal aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all people at all ages.

PhD Retreat 2022

The PhD Retreat in Bonn lasted three days, which the 40 participating PhD students were busy with a varied program. The aim of the retreat was to exchange information about the research work conducted at the DZNE, which happened through talks and the presentation of posters. Elena Rakuša, who is doing her PhD in demographic studies under the supervision of Gabriele Doblhammer, focused her poster presentation on the utilization of care services at the end of life of patients with dementia. Workshops on "Conflict Management", "PhD - what's next?", "Scientific Writing and Acting Skills" and "Agile Project Management" provided the participants with a wide range of new knowledge.

PostDoc Retreat 2022

The PostDoc Retreat 2022 was organized on October 6 and 7 at the Dorint Venusberg Hotel in Bonn, Germany. The two days of the event were used to exchange information about the current research activities at the DZNE and to participate in different workshops. Anne Fink from the research group on demographic studies presented her poster on "Dementia in Parkinson's disease", which reflected a small insight into her field of work. Helpful hints for the working world were provided by workshops on career planning and orientation.

Participation in the 17th annual conference of the DGEpi

The 17th annual conference of the German Society for Epidemiology started on September 26, 2022 at the University of Greifswald. Over several days, numerous researchers had the opportunity to present their work through lectures or poster presentations. The Institute of Sociology and Demography at the University of Rostock were represented by Daniela Georges and Benjamin Aretz. Daniela Georges gave a presentation on September 27 in the field of social epidemiology entitled "The effect of international caregiving on mental health in Germany: Are there differences between non-migrants and Ethnic German Immigrants? Results from a cohort study based on the German Socio-Economic Panel 2000 to 2018". The presentation is based on a study conducted in collaboration with Gabriele Doblhammer, who is a group leader at the DZNE and chair holder of the University of Rostock. The aim of this study is to analyze the effects of informal care on the mental health of Germans without a migration background and ethnic German immigrants, the largest and oldest immigrant group in Germany, in a comparative perspective. Benjamin Aretz's presentation was assigned to environmental medicine, exposure and risk assessment and is titled "The role of leukocytes in cognitive impairment caused by fine particulate matter: A population-based mediation analysis." The hypothesis that PM2.5 (particulate matter) could lead to neuroinflammatory responses secondary to peripheral inflammation (systemic inflammation) served as the basis for this research and explains, at least in part, the cognitive impairments caused by PM2.5. This relationship is being investigated using a population-based study design. DZNE PhD student Elena Rakuša also attended the conference to make new contacts and further her knowledge in the various epidemiological fields. 

For more information on the presentations, access the website of the 17th annual conference of the DGEpi. The complete program of the conference is also available there.

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