André Marquand, hoogleraar Computational Psychology
André Marquand, hoogleraar Computational Psychology

Cognition in Psychosis Grant for Andre Marquand

In December 2022 Andre Marquand was rewarded a Cognition in Psychosis grant of one million euros by the Wellcome Trust charitable foundation. Cognitive impairment is often evident early during psychosis. However, this has not yet produced markers with sufficient sensitivity and specificity to predict outcomes at the level of the individual or help early intervention. This three-year project will address this need and aims to develop models to figure out what early risks factors are and to predict functioning in psychosis at the individual level.

This project is a follow up on an earlier Wellcome Trust award that was granted to Radboudumc. During the first project a during which a set of brain growth charting tools was developed which is used by the scientific community. Because of the success of the first, this project aims to apply similar techniques to cognitive scores.

Andre Marquand: “The idea is to combine the data of hundreds of thousands of individuals to chart the variability in cognition across the span of a lifetime. By using growth charts, we can plot where every individual is at any given moment in time. This would be a sensitive marker of how psychosis will develop.

Three-year project to start in June

The three-year project will start in June and will be a collaboration with partners from London and Oslo. Marquand: “The other partners in this project from Oslo and London have many clinical cohorts and data from public health registries that we need to perform this study. By making use of that data, we will (i) develop deep learning technology to enable cognitive data from earlier studies to be aggregated; (ii) map lifespan variation; (iii) predict progression at the individual level and find genetic and environmental factors. Our project will be guided throughout by extensive engagement with lived experience experts.”

According to Marquand a nice result of this project would be to develop the tools which enable clinicians to predict outcomes and to choose the right treatment early in the illness course. Marquand: “although we didn't say we would do that in this project, an excellent follow up project would be to develop something like a software test kit for tablets that we can provide for the scientific community to test cognitive abilities in an online manner. By applying our large-scale models to these data we can derive profiles for individual patients and make predictions that could be used by the doctor treating the patient. This could eventually give them input to enable personalized medicine.

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