New Biomarkers of Dementia - MRI, fNIRS, DC-Potential, Herzfrequenz


Increasing life expectancy, together with declining birth rates, is leading to a change in the age structure and is reflected in a relative increase in the number of older population groups. In addition to the functioning of the cardiovascular system, mental and cognitive performance in everyday life is an important aspect for older people. A growing problem in modern society, however, is the increasing prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases. In 2016, the number of people suffering from dementia in Germany was over 1.6 million. According to estimates, this number will rise to 2.9 million by 2050 (German Alzheimer Society, 2019).

Background and aims

Since dementia illnesses such as Alzheimer's are currently not curable with medical measures (Sinha, 2012), other preventive measures that delay physical and mental degradation must be used. Early diagnosis can help to delay the progression of the disease by taking preventive and therapeutic steps.

For this reason, this study addresses the combination of physiological parameters that can potentially detect declining brain function at an early stage in dementia:

  • DC (direct current) potential
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
  • functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)
  • MRI


This study will be carried out as a cross-sectional study. Approximately 30 subjects each will be recruited from the following four groups:

  • healthy young volunteers between 20 and 30 years of age
  • healthy older volunteers aged 60 and over
  • older volunteers with MCI (mild cognitive impairement)
  • older volunteers with dementia (Alzheimer's disease)

Course of the study

An examination consists of filling in questionnaires, recording neuropsychological diagnostics, measuring physiological parameters at rest and during cognitive tasks.

Principle Investigator: Prof. Dr. Notger Müller
Start of the study: June 2019
Status: mono centric, ongoing, recruiting active

Study Coordination / Project Management
Dr. Milos Dordevic
+49 391 6724592

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